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Blackmore Vale station volunteers celebrated at regional awards ceremony

Station volunteer groups across the Blackmore Vale region have scooped top awards at the Blooming Stations Awards.

The awards, organised by Blackmore Vale Line Community Rail Partnership, were held in October at Castle Gardens in Sherborne and welcomed over 100 station volunteers from across the Southern Western Railway and Great Western Railway network.

Based on the guiding principles of community involvement, sustainability, and horticultural expertise, the event was a culmination of a summer of judging which considered floral displays, the range of activities by volunteers, positive environmental impact, community engagement with schools and other local groups, and coordination with onward transport links. 

The judges were impressed by the breadth and range of volunteering opportunities taking place at the stations ranging from planters and gardens, wildlife areas, friendship benches, owl boxes, free shops, heritage centres, baby clothes swap shop and food banks.

Sponsored by The Gardens Group and South West Coaches, the awards focused on giving regional prominence to the value of volunteering, and the unique contributions and enhancements made by volunteers and railway staff. Each station volunteer group received a unique award presented by Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, and a specially curated calendar full of images of the super smiley summer.

Stations in the Blackmore Vale region that were amongst those scooping the top awards included Sherborne, Templecombe, Gillingham, Bruton, Castle Cary, Chetnole, Yetminster, Yeovil Pen Mill, Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Railway Centre.

Host of the event Derek Beer, Chairman of the Blackmore Vale Line said: “What a great honour and a privilege to share an occasion with such dedicated and talented people. The memories that I will take away from visiting so many of the groups is the diversity they bring to each of their projects to fit in with the needs, not just of their stations, but the wider communities too. Everyone at the event I feel benefited, not only from a lovely cream tea, a sense of occasion, and most of all learning from hearing about each other’s projects.

“How fortunate we are to have the support of Louise and Castle Gardens, Claire Mann from SWR, and most of all the brilliant leadership and dedication of Caroline Rowland, who pulled it all together.”

If you are interested in learning more about station volunteer opportunities in the Blackmore Vale region, email Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership.