Guides do their best to spruce up Longton railway station
VOLUNTEERS are giving up their spare time to spruce up a railway station.
Businesses have also thrown their support behind improvements to Longton's station.
On Saturday, children from the 8th Longton Brownies, Rainbows and Guides of St. Mary and Chad helped by clearing up litter and planting flowers.
The event was part of a North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership scheme to improve stations.
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Helpers planted shrubs donated by the Fun Factory in Fenton, bulbs from Tesco, and wildflower seeds provided by Jackson's Nursery in Bagnall. Longton's Best DIY made sure they had the right tools for the job by donating gardening equipment.
Faye Lambert, project officer for North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, said: "We're delighted to have such great community support for Longton station from the children and local businesses.
"It really boosts the hard work being put in by our station volunteers to tidy the station's green areas and improve the general station environment for passengers."
Ivy Leese, unit leader of 8th Longton, said: "We were asked if we could help out with the station so we said we would. It's brilliant for the children."
Tracy Burns's 11-year-old daughter Madison was helping as part of the guide unit.
The 47-year-old, from Sandford Hill, said: "We walk past the station every day on the way to school and Madison always says she wishes they would paint it, and now we are getting the chance to help improve it. It's a really good idea."
The North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership recruits volunteers to maintain the area's unmanned stations.
Other stations on the route which have received a boost from the community include Alsager, Blythe Bridge, Kidsgrove and Uttoxeter.
Joy McKenna, from Sutherland Avenue, Dresden, has been volunteering at Longton station once a week since June.
The 60-year-old said: "I'm glad the station here has been kept open and when I saw a poster asking for volunteers I decided to help.
"We have tidied the platform area up a lot, it was a bit unloved and overgrown. It is going to look wonderful when it is finished."
Longton station was opened in 1848 by the North Staffordshire Railway, and is a key stop on the Crewe to Derby line.
Jonny Wiseman, route manager for rail operator East Midlands Trains, said: "This is a great example of the local community pulling together to improve their local station."