For Corby railway station adopters keeping platform in first class order is just the ticket

Volunteers Donald Oliver and Matt Clipston will be officially taking care of Corby station

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 2:56 pm

A community-spirited Corby volunteer has been officially appointed as an official Corby Railway Station Adopter to keep the platform spick and span.

Donald Oliver had unofficially been fulfilling the role, tending the flower tubs on the platform and litter picking at the Station Road facility.

Now he and a new volunteer Matt Clipston have been signed-up by East Midlands Railway (EMR) in an official capacity.

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Mr Oliver, 49, is following in the footsteps of his late friend Jim Wade who originally took on the adopter role when the station re-opened in 2009.

He said: "I have been doing this since Jim passed away two years ago. I buy all the plants and flowers out of my own money for the hanging baskets. I want to make the place look nice.

"We used to meet up for a coffee. He was a nice bloke and I'm following in his footsteps."

Mr Oliver and Mr Clipston were given their safety briefing, after which they received their bright pink high vis uniform and EMR lanyards.

Donald Oliver in foreground with Matt Clipston - Corby Station Adopters

Station adopters voluntary roles include keeping an eye out for any unusual activity, reporting any faults and issues, maintaining the gardens and making sure the station is presentable.

Alexa Stott, community ambassador for East Midlands Railway, said: "We have 400 plus adopters across our network. Some groups are large like in Kettering, some stations have people like the WI and the Rotary involved.

"It's absolutely fantastic that Donald and Matt have taken on Jim's legacy. I hope that we can build on this interest and we would love to see more people involved.

"We have seen an increase in volunteering for EMR and we are here to support. Lockdown seems to have made people aware of giving back to their community."

L-r Donald Oliver, Donna Adams (EMR community engagement manager), Alexa Stott (EMR community ambassador) and Matt Clipston

Some groups have been planting plants to attract pollinating insects, others have been cultivating herbs and tomatoes for passengers to pick.

Train enthusiast Mr Clipston said: "I love railways and I love trains. I am here to volunteer and help and do something for Corby and myself. I'll follow Donald's lead on what we will do."

The Railway Station Adopters can get advice from EMR how to access grants to pay for plants, compost and pots.

Mr Oliver had been supplying the flowers and greenery for the planters he worked on with his friend Jim.

Corby railway station

He said: "I want to see the place looking colourful with hanging baskets and flower troughs. When people step off the train or some into the station I want them to think it's a nice place."

David Fursdon for Corby Rail Users said: "Donald is passionate about keeping the station bright and welcoming to passengers. He is to be congratulated on being officially appointed by EMR as Corby Railway Station Adopter and Corby Rail Users all appreciate his good work all round.

"Jim would be proud to know Donald had taken over from him."

Donald Oliver with some of the blooming marvellous displays