PLUMLEY station has scooped the top award and been named as Cheshire’s Best Kept Station.
Other winners on the Mid Cheshire Line include Knutsford, which took the title as Cheshire’s Best Staffed Station, while Chelford won the prestigious ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) Award.
This is the 11th year of the competition and Cheshire still remains the only county in the country to have its own county wide competition.
The awards were presented on Tuesday, January 14 at The Grange Theatre in Hartford.
More than 140 guests attended the evening and John Hulme, organiser of Cheshire Best Kept Stations, said Plumley deserved to win the top prize.
“The gardens in spring and summer are always welcoming thanks to their local community station makeover team,” he said.
“My judges considered it to be tidiest station they had inspected but what made it extra special was the Waiting Shelter Art Gallery with paintings by local children from Lower Peover Primary School.
“Plumley’s success also comes from the support given by their parish council and their local garden centre.
“Knutsford station should be applauded for the strong partnership working built up between Northern Rail, the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership and Knutsford in Bloom.
“The work carried out by Yvonne Bancroft, Chairwoman of Knutsford in Bloom and her community volunteers has made a considerable difference at the station.
“Knutsford Town Council should be thanked for their financial support at the station. Without this support, the volunteers would have found it difficult to have achieved so much.
“Chelford Station, who won the top award in 2012, has a small team of volunteers who continue to work wonders at this rural village station.
“Their gardens and commitment to the station are a credit to the line.”
Sally Buttifant, community rail officer for the Mid Cheshire Line, added: “I am absolutely delighted with these awards as they recognise the hard work and commitment of the volunteers on the Mid Cheshire Line.
“All the community volunteers on the Line give their time freely and are dedicated to making our stations more hospitable for those that use our local train services.
“We all owe them a big thank you.”
Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail said: “The Best Kept Stations award ceremony showcases what a tremendous positive impact the work of volunteers can have at stations, benefitting both local communities and those who use the stations.
“The work of the volunteers also frequently helps in promoting rail travel on the routes concerned.
“I am delighted that the efforts and commitment of both the volunteers and our own team members has been so strongly recognised in the number of Northern stations that received awards this year.”
COMMUNITY leaders have hailed those whose hard work has resulted in awards for Plumley, Chelford and Knutsford stations in the annual awards.
Sybil Crossman, chairman of Plumley with Toft and Bexton Parish Council, said: “At Plumley, the parish council and the people of Plumley see our railway station as one of our most important assets, so we are all thrilled that our station has been voted the Best in Cheshire.
“This accolade is a tribute to Clr Tony Gabbot and his community volunteers, the station adopter and the help, support and guidance from Andy Yates and his staff at the local Plantation Garden Centre.”
Kath Gildon, chairman of Chelford Parish Council, added: “Chelford Parish Council and those who live in Chelford are extremely proud of having won a further award as one of Cheshire Best Kept Stations.
“I would like to say a special thank you to Barbara and Tony Icke, Peter and Heather Hammond and all those local volunteers that support the station.”
Yvonne Bancroft , chairwoman of Knutsford in Bloom, said: “Knutsford in Bloom are pleased to have worked at Knutsford railway station with Northern Rail and the Community Rail Partnership in changing an overgrown and messy eyesore adjacent to the station car park into a welcome sight for residents and visitors to the town.
“We would like to thank Knutsford Town Council for their financial support with this project which has allowed us to win this esteemed award as Cheshire 's Best Staffed Station.”