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New adopters for Wymondham rail station aim to return it to former glory

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Two local volunteers have ‘adopted’ Wymondham rail station and hope to return it to its former glory.

Brendan Gray, 29, who lives in Wymondham and is the new owner of the Station Bistro, remembers the bistro and station in its heyday when former restaurateur, David Turner, won acclaim for the stunning floral arrangements and extensive railway memorabilia that adorned the station and attracted visitors from far and wide.

Joined by fellow volunteer, John Harwood, they have vowed to recreate the attractive and welcoming atmosphere for passengers and visitors.

Their desire to continue David’s legacy has led them to join Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption scheme, so that they can officially partner with the company to bring about improvements at the station.

The train operator’s Station Adoption scheme sees people getting involved with their local rail station for the benefit of their communities, working with Greater Anglia to bring about improvements or caring for gardens and floral displays to benefit local wildlife and make stations more welcoming.

Brendan commented, “I took over the Station Bistro in March last year and decided to adopt Wymondham station because I would like to see it restored to its former glory when David Turner used to look after the station.

“I feel this is an important role as the station is the first thing many visitors to Wymondham see, when arriving by train, and so it is important to make a good first impression.

“I would like Wymondham station to be somewhere that everyone in the town is proud of.”

John Harwood.

John, 63, who is retired, lives in Morley St Peter, and is an active member of the Mid Norfolk Railway, said, “My interest in railways goes back to 1968 when school holidays were spent at Wymondham Station, observing the variety of trains which existed then and catching the train to Norwich to watch the football at Carrow Road. It is this historical interest plus remembering how the station looked under a previous tenure that has made me decide to be part of the Station Adoption initiative.

“I’m an enthusiastic gardener so I am looking forward to creating some flower displays in tubs and window boxes and supporting local wildlife with some nest boxes, insect hotels and wildflowers too.”

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said, “I’m delighted to welcome Brendan and John to the Station Adoption initiative and look forward to hearing their ideas for brightening up the station and making it a welcoming environment ready for when the current pandemic restrictions can be lifted.”

Greater Anglia continues to work with Norfolk County Council on a scheme to improve access to the Cambridge-bound platform for disabled people.

Current Government advice is to stay at home unless you need to travel for permitted reasons including work and medical appointments.

Greater Anglia continues to ensure that rail travel is safe for staff and passengers with an enhanced cleaning regime, on stations and trains, concentrating on high-touch areas such as push buttons, grab rails and door handles.

The train operator has also introduced a wide range of measures to make it easier for customers to maintain social distancing at stations and on trains – including floor markings, one-way systems, new signs and queuing systems.

It is now mandatory for customers to wear a face covering when using public transport, to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Children under the age of 11 and people with a disability or illness which means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt from wearing them.

Photo credit: Greater Anglia, Featured photo – Brendan Gray at the Station Bistro