PROUD villagers who lovingly transformed a derelict station into a vibrant community hub have won a special honour at the national Community Rail Awards.

The Friends of Goostrey Station, affectionately known as FOGS, were presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail award.

The enthusiastic volunteers also won the trophy for the Most Enhanced Railway Spaces for the renovation and conversion of the Victorian wooden station building into an art studio.

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The team came second in the Community Rail Awards photography competition for a picture of members displaying previous best kept station awards.

The station building lay dilapidated and disused when FOGS was formed in 2012.

Knutsford Guardian: The dilapidated Victorian station building before restorationThe dilapidated Victorian station building before restoration (Image: Friends of Goostrey Station)

The group gradually improved the overall station environment but retained a determination to renovate the building and bring it back into community use.

Knutsford Guardian: The disused ticket office before restorationThe disused ticket office before restoration (Image: Friends of Goostrey Station)

Working with Network Rail, the Rail Heritage Trust and other partners, the building was totally renovated and altered to create two large rooms which local artist Debbie Goldsmith now uses as a studio.

Knutsford Guardian: The restored wooden building at Goostrey StationThe restored wooden building at Goostrey Station (Image: Friends of Goostrey Station)

The station has now turned into a real creative hub, with Debbie using the building as a studio to paint, create wool rugs, and prepare workshop materials.

Workshops are designed to bring people together and have been well-received by the local community, schools and youth groups.

Knutsford Guardian: Holmes Chapel rainbows enjoying a workshop in the new Goostrey art studioHolmes Chapel rainbows enjoying a workshop in the new Goostrey art studio (Image: Friends of Goostrey Station)

A recent successful application to the National Lottery will fund the installation of a kitchen and toilets.

These improved facilities will ensure that more ambitious projects can be developed in the future.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “We are continually impressed by the breadth of the work delivered by the Friends of Goostrey Station and their obvious commitment to engaging widely with their community and delivering positive change.

“Their work developing Goostrey Art Studio is a fantastic example of a historic railway building being lovingly restored and converted into a creative community hub.”

Christina Burgess from FOGS said: “It was a remarkable evening.

"We had entered the Most Enhanced Railway Spaces category and had submitted the photograph but we knew nothing about the special award.

“I still can’t quite believe we came home with two glass trophies, three certificates and two cheques.

“Although only Debbie and I were at the awards evening, FOGS is a real team effort.

"Everyone has worked really hard but we wouldn’t have won these awards without the tireless efforts of chairman Dave Roberts and vice chairman and treasurer Craig Sidebotham.

"They were involved in negotiations which resulted in Debbie’s tenancy and currently they’re working hard to get the toilet and washing facilities installed.”

Craig has also promoted biodiversity and GIS mapping around the station.

Christina added: “I’m sure that this was significant in us getting the outstanding contribution award.”