The Marple and Romiley area has scooped 3 Awards at the 16th Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards Evening held on Tuesday 5th February 2019. Marple won the Transport for Greater Manchester Award; Romiley the World War 1 Centenary Award and Rose Hill the Merseyrail In Bloom Award. The awards cover pre-1974 Cheshire boundaries which includes Stockport and the Wirral and in 2018 the lead sponsors of the Awards were Merseyrail. All three winners are Northern stations.
Alsager railway station in Cheshire East was named Cheshire’s Best Kept Station 2018.
The Awards were presented before 160 guests at The Grange Theatre, Hartford, Northwich by Professor Garfield Southall, Dean of Science and Engineering at the University of Chester and Chair of North Cheshire Community Rail Partnership. The Evening was attended by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire and twelve mayors from boroughs, town and parishes across Cheshire including the Deputy Mayor of Stockport. In his closing remarks to the Awards, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs, gave special thanks to those stations that had commemorated the First World War as many of our soldiers left for the war from their local railway station and never returned
On presenting the awards, Professor Southall said:
“It has been a great pleasure for me to present these awards this evening and it has been an eye-opener to see how much volunteering there is on our railway stations in Cheshire.
“My thanks go to all those Friends Groups and rail staff that make our stations lovely gateways to our cities, towns and villages across the county."
The judges thought the station is brought alive by the display of large posters depicting Miss Marple stories. There are some nice planters on the platforms, bringing some colour to the scene. The waiting room has a lending library, work by local schools and a small display of the effects of WW1 on the residents of Marple.
Peter Black, chair of The Friends of Marple Station, said:
We are delighted to win the TfGM award. “Marple Station is fast becoming a paradise for art, and our conscientious objector display provided a different but important perspective on World War 1. “We’re looking forward to achieve even more this year!”
This was won because of a striking poppy fall in the station entrance and stairwell inspired by the Tower of London's 'weeping window'. This, and the decoration for a WW1 display in the waiting room was created from poppies made by a range of community groups and individuals as well as a poppy making session organised by the Friends Group. A Romiley Fallen Poppy was made using the names taken from the War Memorial, and many rail passengers contributed by writing the name and age of one of the Fallen on the poppies.
Alf Clark, the chair of The Friends of Romiley Station, said:
"The Friends of Romiley Station are delighted to have won the World War 1 Centenary Award. “However, the real winners are the wider community of Romiley. “Many people, from the very young to the not so young, played an active part in answering the call to get involved so that the community as a whole could pay a fitting tribute to those men and women who gave so much in the Great War. Many of whom made the supreme sacrifice. It was, therefore, wonderful to have so many play such an active part a hundred years on so as to ensure that all were remembered."
This single platform station has bright, colourful and varied flower beds. It is obvious that a lot of work has been put into the gardens. There is even a “take-away” herb garden. There is also a poetry corner and some railway themed pictures on the platform.
Rachel Singer, chair of The Friends of Rose Hill Station (FoRHS) said:
In another well organised and enjoyable evening, FoRHS were so pleased to receive the In Bloom award again this year. “Along with the travelling public who regularly admire our work, this also recognises the continuing efforts of our volunteers to brighten up the station. Many thanks"
Further details can be found at bestkeptstations.org.uk