DEDICATED volunteers have been recognised for their efforts in maintaining and improving their community’s railway station.

Three awards were handed out to Greenbank, Plumley and Winsford in this year’s Cheshire Best Kept Stations awards, while Delamere was highly commended.

Now in its 18th year, the event moved online for 2020 due to the pandemic, with a 30-minute video launched on YouTube last week.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said the awards recognise ‘the huge amount of work, passion and enthusiasm’ put in by volunteers as she introduced the video.

She added: “It is much more than brightening up stations – it is about bringing people together, it is about health and wellbeing, it is about social inclusion and community cohesion.

“It is about bringing stations into the heart of their community and creating a sense of familiarity, positivity and ownership towards the railway.

“All of this is doubly important at the moment as we come through this great challenge we are facing through the pandemic as we are seeking to help our communities and railway to recover and build back better.”

Each award recognised the efforts of friends groups and village volunteers in improving their local station.

Friends of Greenbank Station was recognised for its work, including a ‘Lest We Forget’ mural and a garden of peace and reflection for those lost in conflict.

The award for Winsford was for the five art panels on the station created by Crosshatch Community Gallery and Makerspace, with help from primary schools across Winsford.

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Plumley won an award for its colourful garden which had been seeded out by village volunteers, and the addition of its new waiting shelter seat which is in keeping with the station.

Delamere was highly commended for the 'Petty Pool Petals' project, in which the students from the college designed and produced brightly-painted wooden flowers and fixed them to the fence at the station.

Mark Barker, chairman of Cheshire Best Kept Stations, said: “Despite all the changes that we have all had to make this year, some things have not changed.

“The work that station friends and community groups do to make their stations welcoming gateways is brilliant.

“Yes, their work was disrupted, but they carried on doing what they could – keeping in touch with each other and their communities, and planning for the future.”