West Yorkshire’s Mytholmroyd Station Partnership has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Representatives of Mytholmroyd Station Partnership will receive the award crystal and certificate from Ed Anderson, Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from the Mytholmroyd Station Partnership will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
The Station Partnership was formed in 2006 by a group of local residents determined to return the railway environment, sadly vandalised and unwelcoming, to its former glory. Twenty individuals signed up then and have since worked many, many voluntary hours over fifteen years to reach this goal.
Their work has transformed the station, with the platform area becoming a warm welcome to residents and visitors alike through the addition of artworks from three local schools’ youngsters and members of the community. Colourful floral displays now adorn the station, and these are kept impressively clean by the team from railway cleaning contractors ISS, great partnership working to achieve this goal. The relationship with the groups colleagues at Northern Trains, Network Rail and the Railway Heritage Trust is also very good, viewing the group as critical friends of the railway industry.
During the recent devastating floods in Mytholmroyd, the railway was the only way to get in and out of the valley. On hearing of the problems from partnership chairman Geoff Mitchell, the partneship’s railway friends worked fast to provide stranded folks with travel passes to get either out of the valley, through the valley (like school children wanting to get back home to Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and all points reaching as far as Bradford), or back into Mytholmroyd. The travel passes unable to be delivered physically (floods got in the way), but drivers and crews on the relevant trains were alerted and kept informed. This is a fantastic example of community working together with the professionals- for the benefit of all.
The group’s overarching plan is still to engage with our local youngsters, work with them, give them a sense of ownership and pride in the station area. A successful outcome has been achieved as there has been very little vandalism on the station for many years now.
A recent addition to the Partnership is the offshoot charity for Listed Grade II Station Building – Mytholmroyd; CIO 117 4609 – a derelict wreck now being restored to a useful life for the use of the Community. It is a work in progress, but hoping to re-start the ‘invitation to look round the building’, paused by Covid-19 very soon.
Chair, Geoff Mitchell said: “Who would have guessed fifteen years ago when we then met as strangers and now are good friends that the hard work of the volunteers would be recognised and honoured in such a wonderful manner. It is amazing! We are overwhelmed.
“I would like to thank all our officers, George Whittaker – deputy chairman, Caroline Burton – treasurer, and Sue Mitchell – secretary, for their continued support. The loyalty, and dedication shown by our members out in all weathers without complaint, but a laugh, a shrug and “It always rains at one o’clock on a Friday, our ‘dig-in’ day”- I repeat without their hard work and input we could not have survived for five years let alone fifteen. Importantly, we do have fun as well..
“We would also like to acknowledge the unfailing support and encouragement from the railway family in all its guises; the councils; parish, regional and metropolitan, charities together with our friends, sponsors and supporters all.”