Alsager Railway Station has been named as Cheshire’s Best Kept Station 2018 at the 16th annual Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards, held on Tuesday 5th February 2019.
The evening was attended by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire along with twelve mayors from boroughs, towns and parishes across Cheshire.
A total of 15 stations won awards – and six stations were highly commended – at the prestigious community event.
Northwich Station was named the best station in Cheshire West, while Handforth took the crown in Cheshire East, with the special World War 1 Centenary Award going to Romiley station in Stockport.
Awards and commendations also went to: Chelford, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Goostrey, Greenbank, Hattersley, Heaton Chapel, Hoylake, Knutsford, Marple, Padgate, Reddish South, Rose Hill, Sandbach, Stockport and Warrington Bank Quay railway stations.
The awards cover pre-1974 Cheshire, whose boundaries included areas of Stockport and the Wirral.
In his closing remarks at the awards event, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs gave special thanks to those stations that had commemorated the First World War – as many of our country’s soldiers left for the war from their local railway station and never returned.
Mark Barker, chair of Cheshire Best Kept Stations, said: “Tonight’s awards evening is a celebration and a thank you for all the volunteers, community groups and rail staff who do so much to brighten up our stations in Cheshire.
“Alsager Station won the top ‘Cheshire Best Kept Station Award 2018’.
“The judges loved the fabulous flower displays on both platforms, which are quite long. As good as any that would be seen at Tatton Park and other ‘professional’ flower shows.”
Mark added: “Photos of regular community involvement over the years, including celebrating 170 years since the station opened clinched the coveted top award.”
Cllr Shirley Jones, chairman of Alsager Town Council, added: “I am delighted that Alsager has once again be named Cheshire’s Best Kept Station.
“My thanks go to all the volunteers, participants from local schools, railway staff and other organisations in the town for making this happen.
“Alsager is very proud of its station.”
The awards were presented before 160 guests at The Grange Theatre, Hartford by Prof Garfield Southall, dean of science and engineering at the University of Chester and chair of North Cheshire Community Rail Partnership.
Prof Southall commented: “It has been a great pleasure for me to present these awards this evening and it has been an eye-opener to see how much volunteering there is on our railway stations in Cheshire.
“My thanks go to all those Friends Groups and rail staff that make our stations lovely gateways to our cities, towns and villages across the county.”
The Mayor of Cheshire East, Councillor Lesley Smetham, added: “I want to congratulate the Alsager team on their success this year and congratulate all the other award winners in what is a unique competition.
“I understand that Cheshire is the only county where these awards are made, and it is so important that we have volunteers who are prepared to make a special effort so that rail travellers can get some enjoyment and pleasure from their rail journey and local station.
“Keeping our environment clean is good for our well-being and I want to thank all those volunteers who have brightened up our local railway stations with plants, flowers and other eye-catching displays.”
Cllr Smetham continued: “Our railways and railway stations play an important role in our local communities and, as we know, they played an extremely important role 100 years ago when families stood on platforms to wave farewell to their loved ones heading off to the Great War.
“For that reason alone it is vital we take pride in their appearance.”
Further details can be found at bestkeptstations.org.uk.