VOLUNTEERS have transformed neglected gardens at a South Lakes rail station into a welcoming area for locals and visitors.

The Friends of Kents Bank Station & Foreshore marked the end of the two year project with a celebration event to thank community volunteers, sponsors and stakeholders for their support.

The group’s latest project has involved researching the history of Kents Bank station, producing two station information boards and the installation of a Victorian style storage bench in the Platform One waiting room, funded by The Cumberland Community Fund.

When the volunteer gardeners started work in March 2016 the station gardens had been neglected and were badly overgrown.

Small groups of volunteers adopted a section of the garden and they were given the freedom to develop their plots as they wished.

Colourful bee and butterfly friendly plants with long flowering seasons proved a common theme.

In 2017 the station gardens were rated as thriving in the Cumbria in Bloom ‘It’s your neighbourhood’ category.

Val Kennedy, group co-ordinator, said that the improvements were the result of a great team effort by local residents with support from Northern and Network Rail.

Lynette Hilton, The Cumberland’s representative, cut the tape to reveal the completed waiting room project.

Among the guests were David and Paul Phillips, the sons of the last Kents Bank station master Dennis Phillips.

They lived in Kents Bank Station house when they were children and provided two of the photographs featured on the Kents Bank Station Masters’ history board.

Their father was particularly proud of the station gardens and won the best kept station award in 1957. When Dennis was appointed, in 1956, he was the youngest station master in the UK.

David said: “The gardens looked superb. It leaves a legacy and a focal point for us, our children and our children’s children to visit and cherish for years to come.”

The event continued with a light lunch at the Abbot Hall Hotel where thanks were given to Northern, Association of Community Rail Partnerships, Community Rail Cumbria, Furness Community Rail, Grange-over-Sands Town Council, Network Rail, The Cumberland, the Cumbrian Railways Association and the Bay Villa Trust.

The community group wished Community Rail Partnership (CRP) Officer Jim Trotman an enjoyable retirement and welcomed Kerstin Esbjörnsson as the new officer.