Friends of Lytham Railway Station [FOLRS] began back in January 2015. As I was travelling on the railway and passing through many small stations across the North West, it struck me how very nicely presented they all were and it was this that made me think of how Lytham Station could be improved. I spoke with a friend who put me in touch with Northern Rail and this is when the project began.
Realising I could not manage the task alone, I brought two friends on to the committee: Nicole is still on the Railway committee, along with Louise, Alison and Anthony. We also have volunteers we call on when needed. Having been involved with “In Bloom” activities within rural Fylde for over 22 years, I had many ideas of what could be done to improve the station, including where to obtain the necessary funding.
Initially, Lytham Festival donated two ‘Welcome to Lytham’ signs and my daughter and son-in-law (who then managed ‘The Station’ public house just outside of the station) obtained wooden troughs that were placed along the platform. Then, a local businessman who was delighted with the developments and our enthusiasm, very kindly donated a substantial amount to our project that meant we could continue with our plans. We of course continued to fundraise and obtain sponsorships, one being with St Anne’s Beach Huts and Apartments. A beach hut currently stands at the railway entrance and this was donated by Lytham Festival. It is used as an advertising hub for both the Lytham Festival and the Beach Huts and provides much needed storage for FOLRS.
Today, we remain as a committee of 5 people with volunteer helpers. We use local horticulturists for our flowers and shrubs and local businesses for other materials and services. We continue to apply for grants from Fylde Borough Council, local charities and businesses and fundraise throughout the year. Our last event at the Queens Hotel in Lytham raised £630. We have another Bingo Fundraiser at the Queens on the 27th February, 2020.
Currently, our funds are being used to replace the wooden troughs with sustainable ones. We are in discussions with the local Arts Officer and a local artist to design and erect artwork along the station platform. We continue to work closely with Lytham in Bloom at the station. Last year, we won Gold for ‘Best Commercial Premises’ at their local community awards before going on to win ‘Best Railway Station’ at the RHS North West in Bloom Discretionary Awards. This year we won again, outstanding in Neighbourhood award.
If anyone would like to know more about FOLRS or would like to volunteer and get involved with planting or general maintenance or would like to advertise their business at the station, please contact us using our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Friends of Lytham Railway Station.
We’ve had great help and advice from The South Fylde Community Railway Line. Thank you for reading about Friends of Lytham Station.
Brenda Blackshaw – Friends of Lytham Railway Station