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Kath Warbrick: an outstanding volunteer – Friends of Aspatria Station

Following the retirement of a couple who had tended the station planters for many years, it became somewhat neglected and unloved. Kath and her husband Keith offered renewed hope and optimism. Sadly, health issues meant that Keith was unable to carry out any physical work, leaving Kath with very little support for the tasks ahead. But, undaunted, she took it upon herself to seek the support she needed to make her hometown station something the community could be proud of.

Examples of Kath’s work

Assembling a new team

Kath set about putting exciting plans for the station in place, and successfully engaged a number of partners to share in her vision of turning Aspatria into a welcoming place of colour and beauty. They included the deputy mayor, the town council, Community Rail Cumbria, Northern, community police, a criminal justice charity, and local businesses. All offered their support, and by single-handedly raising the profile of the station, Kath also recruited two new like-minded adopters to form a small but determined team. 

Revitalising the station

With her new team in place, former nurse Kath set to work weeding, sanding, sweeping, and clearing away any signs of damage. Gradually, new planters and hanging baskets appeared with bright floral displays, fences and gates were repaired or replaced, sad patches of rough ground became tidy white gravelled areas, and a plaque thanking a local charity shop for their ongoing support was proudly displayed on the northbound platform.

New life began to shimmer all around the station, resulting in a reduction of anti-social behaviour. The revamp also stimulated interest from the local secondary school, whose students built and installed a wooden seat and planter to further enhance the look of the station. There are now plans in place to work with the school to create a community herb garden.

Championing station adoption

Kath’s hard work and dedication is there for all to see, with the County Council describing her transformation of the station as “miraculous.” Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the media, and Kath bravely faced the ITV news cameras to promote the value of station adoption and the benefits it can offer communities. She is also always ready to support fellow volunteers, and has lent her enthusiasm and expertise to other, new station adoption groups.

Describing Kath, a colleague said: “Her can-do attitude, leadership, and mentoring skills continue to inspire, and her passion and unstinting desire to help people and communities flourish shines through. Her efforts have revitalised the station, generating renewed interest and community pride, and she has every intention of making Aspatria Cumbria’s best loved station!”