The Friends of Handforth Station (FoHS) have been acknowledged for achieving “one of the most notable successes of any voluntary group in the country”.
So spoke Mark Barker, Chair of the Cheshire Best Kept Stations (CBKS) organisation, as he presented a Special Award at the station.
This Special Award recognises the work of FoHS over many years to secure money and a commitment to install two lifts at the station.
Mark Barker said: “The work this volunteer group did in preparing technical statements and compiling bids is normally done by train companies, Network Rail or consultancy companies. The amount of stakeholder, political and community support that FoHS garnered was huge. FoHS took on the rail industry and the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme, and successfully bid for £2.7m towards the provision of two lifts at Handforth Station.”
CBKS annually recognises the work of nearly 50 Friends groups throughout the county. The 2020 Awards were different to normal, due to the pandemic. However FoHS, along with several other Friends groups, were presented a Special Award during a virtual online event in November 2020.
Mark Barker, accompanied by Becky Styles of Northern Trains and Steve Forde (one of the judges) visited Handforth Station on Wednesday May 26th to formally hand over the award.
Mike Bishop, President of FoHS, said:“We are honoured to have been recognised by CBKS, and we thank our Sponsors and the local community – including Wilmslow Dean Rotary and local Scouts and Guides – for helping us to achieve this wonderful result. We look forward to further enhancing the station, partnering with all in the community, as works proceed. The installation of lifts will give access for all to the platforms, meaning at last that people won’t have to struggle with the steps.”
Mark closed the presentation ceremony by confirming that CBKS planned to return to the pre-pandemic format for 2021. He pledged that CBKS representatives will make unannounced assessment visits to stations in the county throughout the coming Summer. “We’ll be ready for you!”, said Mike.