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British Railways totem returns to Handforth Station after 40 years

A British Railways totem has been returned to Handforth Station after sitting in a local resident’s attic for over 40 years.

In the early 1980s, British Rail were nearing the end of their process to change all the old platform name totems to more modern versions. It was around this time that local Handforth resident Jean Smith was passing the station whilst the work was being carried out and spotted the damaged sign on the scrap pile. She was given permission to take it home where it was kept, unrestored, for 40 years, until she passed away in November 2023.

Jean’s family generously offered to donate the totem to the Friends of Handforth Station, with the artefact being bestowed upon the volunteer group at a special ceremony on Saturday 10 February by Jean’s son-in-law Scott Dempster.

Scott said: “It is the family’s wish that the totem be displayed at Handforth Station to keep the memory of Jean alive.”

Mike Bishop, president of the Friends of Handforth Station, said: “The Friends of Handforth Station are honoured and very grateful to receive the totem, and hope fully to comply with the family’s wishes for its display.

“One of our objectives as the Friends of Handforth Station is to retain and maintain historical artefacts like this. Before displaying it, we will seek expert opinion about the advisability of attempting to restore the left-hand wing of the totem to its former glory.”

Keep up to date with future news, projects and events from the Friends of Handforth Station via their website.