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Community rail volunteer groups win Queens Award

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The efforts of two community rail groups have been recognised by Buckingham Palace with a prestigious award for their long-standing volunteering.

The Friends of Buxton Station and Mytholmroyd Station Partnership, both groups of station volunteers, have received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, awarded to 230 charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups across the country this year.

The honour is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK, and recognises outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of The Queen’s coronation and is the equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups.

Derbyshire’s Friends of Buxton Station are known locally for their wide-ranging work bringing the community together, promoting sustainable travel and tourism, and improving the local environment for people and nature. They have been particularly active over the last 12 months, hosting a large part of Buxton’s alternative Well Dressing Festival and devising a Rail Retail Trail to promote local independent businesses whose income has been significantly reduced though the recent periods of lockdown. The group has also installed bird nesting and bat roosting boxes in and around the station to improve the habitat for local wildlife.

West Yorkshire’s Mytholmroyd Station Partnership is a volunteer group firmly embedded in the heart of their community. They have established links with local schools, educating pupils on the importance of the railway to the local area, instilling a sense of ownership and pride in the station, and firing the imaginations of a generation of future travellers. The group are currently renovating a previously derelict Grade II-listed building at the station, with plans to transform it into a thriving community hub.

The awards were announced during National Volunteers Week, which celebrates volunteers across the UK and thanks them for the contribution they make.

Jules Townsend,
Community Rail Network.

Community Rail Network chief executive Jools Townsend said: “We’re thrilled that the Friends of Buxton Station and Mytholmroyd Station Partnership have been given the Queen’s Award: they are extremely worthy recipients.

“Their work underlines the important role of the community rail movement and station volunteers, who help communities to derive maximum benefit from their local railways and stations.

“Both groups are an inspiration for the 1,000+ station friends’ groups across Britain, with their wide-ranging work bringing the community together, promoting sustainable travel and tourism, and improving the local environment for people and nature.”

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