Then there were four awards on display. . .
A NANTWICH IN BLOOM PAGE
The latest award - called a totem - is proudly held up for a photograph next to one of the award-winning flower beds. Left to right are Cllr John Lewis, Cllr Arthur Moran, Ald Doug Butterill, Shelley Hall, Cllr Roger West, John Hulme; and, right, David Smith, Hilary Slack and Connie Jones of the Nantwich in Bloom Committee. Below, right: Nantwich in Bloom Committee member, David Smith, proudly indicates the new totem
NANTWICH railway station became a prize winner in the Cheshire Best Kept Stations competition for the fourth time in October, and the award - designed as a railway station totem (the proper description for a station nameplate) - was fixed to the station wall in a ceremony on the up platform on March 16.
While not winning the Best Kept Station in Cheshire award - that went to Frodsham - Nantwich won the Cheshire East award for the best kept station in that half of the county. The Cheshire West and Chester award for the best kept station in that half went to Northwich.
The totem-fixing ceremony was attended by a number of "high-ranking personnel" - the Mayor of Cheshire East, Cllr Roger West; the MP for Crewe and Nantwich, Edward Timpson; the Mayor of Nantwich, Cllr Arthur Moran; the Leader of Nantwich Town Council, Cllr John Lewis; and the Organiser of the Cheshire Best Kept Stations competition, John Hulme.
Present for Nantwich in Bloom Committee were the Chairman, Alderman Doug Butterill; the Secretary, Sue Hughes; the former Secretary, Connie Jones; and committee members, David Smith, Hilary Slack and Malcolm Elliot.
Representing Arriva Trains Wales Ltd, Cardiff, who manage Nantwich Station, were Geraint Morgan, Community Affairs Manager, and Shelley Hall, the Nantwich Station Manager who is based in Shrewsbury.
Alderman Doug Butterill welcomed those present, saying “Thanks to you all for coming today. This is not only another time when we have won another award for our station, but I am taking advantage of the occasion to launch Nantwich in Bloom 2012. We don’t really stop – we are busy in February and all year.”
He thanked Shelley Hall who arranged lots of litter picking and tidying on a weekly basis. He gave the credit for everything else to Geraint Morgan. There were more trains stopping at Nantwich - he believed numbers were up by 17% - and he liked to think that the work the committee had done had helped to facilitate this.
Cllr West said: “I love coming down to this part of the county because I live about 30 miles away. I don’t hesitate to come down - I am always in Nantwich and Middlewich, a lovely corner of the county and it’s fantastic.
“I am very proud of Cheshire East, a lovely county to live in, and Nantwich is one of the jewels in the crown of Cheshire East. And on top of that you have won the award for the best kept station for Cheshire East, and deservedly so. Looking around, it’s fantastic. So you should all be very proud of what you have achieved. I think Poynton, where I live, has won it a couple of times – but due to improvements by the rail networks it’s not looking so good these days.
Pictured with the award after the ceremony are, left to right, Ald Doug Butterill, Cllr Arthur Moran, Cllr Roger West, Edward Timpson MP, John Hulme, Cllr John Lewis and Shelley Hall.
Picture: Geraint Morgan, Arriva Trains Wales
“I would particularly like to thank Nantwich Town Council and especially the Town Mayor, Arthur Moran, who I know very well indeed, and we get on very well, I think, and the Leader of the Council, John Lewis.
“Thanks, too, to the volunteers of Nantwich in Bloom Committee. We have a Poynton
in Bloom and I know from there that the volunteers here work tirelessly to keep this station as attractive as it is. You have done a super job.
“Thank you to John Hulme, organiser of the Best Kept Station Awards, which is the only scheme of its type in the country.” [John Hulme added that Cheshire was the only county to have its own best kept station competition.]
The Mayor continued: “Well done. I know these things don’t happen with five minutes work and talking about it. You have got to get out here and get it done, and it’s lovely to see, as always, the town council getting themselves involved and supporting it.
“We’re very much into localism and the local community and this, to me, looks like the local community, led by the council and yourselves, really creating something worth having. So, many congratulations.”
Cllr Moran said: “We are very grateful to the Nantwich in Bloom Committee for all they have done over the years, never mind just this year. It makes our town look good in the summer. We are just pleased, as the town council, to carry on the support. By hook or by crook we will carry on that support. Congratulations and thanks again for all that you do.”
John Hulme said: “Cheshire Best Kept Stations is 10 years old this year. It all started when I had my own station at Plumley. When I retired and did the things that I wanted to do, I carried on with the awards.
“Why are they important, particularly in our community? The stations are the first and last impressions for lots of visitors and I think a number of people here know that I visit Nantwich probably four times a year as a holidaymaker by canal boat.
“I came here in about 2006 and took one look at the station. I have got to say that it looked pretty dismal so I went knocking on the town council’s door and you came up with a scheme that has worked. I think the reason that is has worked is because you have got the town council, Cheshire East, and – perhaps more importantly – the volunteers of Nantwich in Bloom Committee who keep it running.
“One of the big problems we have with the modern stations is you will have a blitz and that’s your lot. But where there’s continuity it works well. When I talk to new groups I often use Nantwich as a shining example. And, equally, I appreciate that the judges for North West in Bloom arrive by train which definitely helps.”
Geraint Morgan said of all the projects across the county – including the Adopt a Station scheme – Nantwich was one of the best because the committee was a dedicated group. “It is hard to get volunteers these days to do anything and we are lucky that we have good volunteers on the Adopt a Station scheme. Everything you do is right in front of you (the flower beds) and, you are right, first impressions do count and Nantwich is a nice place to come to. I am sure we will be featuring this at our next conference in May. Thanks a lot for all your efforts.”
The plaque marking the Cheshire East award for 2011 was added to the previous three awards on the station wall by Doug Butterill. The four awards are: 2008, Best Kept Gardens; 2009, Community Award; 2010, Best Kept Gardens; and 2011, Cheshire East Award (best kept station in East Cheshire).