Sudbury station gardener John Sayers hands over his spade to new volunteers after 10 year stint

Sudbury railway 'station adopter' John Sayers hands his spade over to new volunteer Anne Smith

Sudbury railway 'station adopter' John Sayers hands his spade over to new volunteer Anne Smith - Credit: Archant

A keen gardener who has kept a west Suffolk railway station looking neat, colourful and inviting over the past decade has handed his spade over to new volunteers.

From now on, local couple Anne and Bob Smith will tend to Sudbury’s award-winning gardens, taking over the role of ‘station adopter’ from town stalwart John Sayers.

The Smiths are already active volunteers in the local community helping with Sudbury Common Lands and two other conservation groups.

Mr Sayers, who has looked after the station’s flora as part of Abellio Greater Anglia’s ‘Adopt-A-Station’ scheme for the past 10 years, decided to step down to enable someone with “fresh ideas” to come on board.

During his time in the role, he transformed the station gardens from an overgrown hedge to a bright and attractive award-winning garden, providing a welcoming site for rail passengers.

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Mr Sayers, who is also a county councillor, said: “The role of station adopter has been enjoyable and challenging and I wish Bob and Anne every success in building on what has been achieved so far.”

Abellio Greater Anglia’s customer service manager, Simi Tinubu, added: “I’d like to thank John for all his years of hard work and dedication as a station adopter and welcome Anne and Bob to the role.

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“I look forward to working with them and hearing their ideas for the station.”

The voluntary scheme started in 2003 and enables individuals or groups to adopt their local railway station and contribute to its presentation for the benefit of the local community.

It was originally created to improve lines of communication between the train operator and station users.

But over the years it has grown to become much more, with adopters now playing an active role in keeping stations looking good through inventive gardening schemes, creative community art projects, taking part in station ‘health checks’ or being the ‘eyes and ears’ of their station.

Adopters have also played a key role in raising money for new initiatives, such as improved waiting facilities or planting beautiful station gardens.

Abellio Greater Anglia now has more than 183 adopters at over 90 stations across East Anglia.

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