Community Rail Network and Rail Delivery Group created a special Railway Family Supporting Communities Award for the 2020 Community Rail Awards to recognise individuals within the rail industry and community rail who went the ‘extra mile’ to support their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. This year has been a challenging time for everyone, but countless members of our railway family, at all levels, went above and beyond their usual duties to help, making a real difference to people’s lives. 

When Covid-19 first hit, huge demands were placed on the NHS and care sector, Christine Holland and Shellene Divall – station adopters at St Anne’s Station in Lancashire, immediately set out to help. They began making much-needed scrubs and bags for their local hospital, Blackpool Victoria Hospital, as well as other medical centres and care homes. Between them, they sourced materials and threads from friends and sewing groups, and secured donations and support from the local business community, included a clothing firm who cut the patterns for the scrubs on their industrial machines.

As volunteers for their local station adoption group, they also worked with their community rail partnership, Community Rail Lancashire, and St. Anne’s Town Council to obtain funding to support their efforts. Being able to buy clothing materials in bulk was vital, as demand for the scrubs quickly began to outstrip supply. Undaunted, Christine and Shellene merely upped their commitment, and leading by example, they encouraged more people to get involved, working with volunteers at other stations on the line to support the project, bringing local communities and rail partners together at a time of national crisis.

This win really is a family affair, as aside from both being station adopters at St. Anne’s Station on Lancashire’s South Fylde Line, Shellene, who works in the care sector, is also Christine’s niece! They are described by those that know them as “invaluable assets” to their community, filled with a determined resolve to always actively seek out and help others.

Their efforts in supporting frontline health workers were hailed by their community rail partnership as a “shining example of rising to, and meeting, an unprecedented challenge in a practical way, and inspiring others to do the same.”