RAILWAY volunteers have been honoured for their work to improve railway stations for their communities.

The Greater Anglia volunteers were recognised at the annual Station Adoption Awards ceremony.

Frank Belgrove, who is the chairman of Alresford Parish Council, was one of the volunteers praised after spending 14 years working to improve Alresford Station.

Along with six other volunteers, Mr Belgrove spends at least an hour every Sunday looking after the site, tidying the garden and litter picking.

Mr Belgrove was recognised for placing extensive gardens and a small orchard alongside the platforms.

He said: “It’s the satisfaction of knowing you are making an improvement for the community that keeps me going.

“I really value the railway station and I think it is a tremendous asset that should be looked after.

“It just looks so much better for people travelling and coming to the village with all the flowers and sculptures.

“Councillors don’t get thanks very often but we do get people at the station stopping by to thank us for what we are doing and this is rewarding.”

Mr Belgrove has also worked on a campaign to reduce air pollution by encouraging drivers to switch off their engines while waiting at Alresford’s level crossing.

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s customer and community engagement manager, said: “Frank has fostered great links between the community and the station and is a great organiser which really shows through the effectiveness of the adopter group, the huge amount of work they do and the amazing things they are achieving at the station.”

Manningtree’s adopter group has also been honoured with Kerry King and Martin Rayner winning the award for Best Newcomers.

They have recently restored and repainted tired woodwork, installed floral displays and bird boxes, and worked to find a solution for watering the flower tubs on the long Manningtree platforms.