What started as a conversation between SCRP Line Officer Catherine Simmons and local resident Helen Sadler about a couple of terracotta pots on the platform spiraled quite quickly into a pretty ambitious project with an amazing amount achieved and still more to come…

The first project by newly formed Friends of Glynde Station FoGS was a children’s artwork competition in partnership with Firle Church of England Primary School and advertised in the Parish Magazine for children to design steam trains to be recreated in metalwork by local Glynde Forge (possibly the oldest forge in the country!) then displayed in the flower beds at Glynde station. Funding for the project came from GTR Passenger Benefit Fund with the assistance of project manager Paul Devereux and Community Rail Network. Five winning designs were chosen by Line Officer Catherine and transformed from children’s black line drawings into spectacular galvanised steel sculptures by Thomas Gontar at the forge. The great picture shown was taken by Helen with Thomas and one of the prizewinners at the forge where they watched the work on the sculptures creation. The photo won Second Prize at the National Community Rail Network Awards held in Southampton recently.

The sculptures were placed amongst the planned wildflower area on the Eastbourne side of the platform.  A few days of intense work by the local community clearing weeds, trees and overwhelming foliage on the ramp and beds culminated in a mass planting party. Hundreds of seeds, lavender, daisies, thousands of poppies, rosemary, shrubs, all sorts were planted with generous donations from Glynde estate and Glyndebourne.

FoGS were donated 750 primula and 1000 tulips from Idverde at Southover grange and have watched in wonder as all the plants have blossomed and bloomed throughout spring and summer. Keeping on top of the weeding has proved a difficult task as once things started opening up, our volunteer numbers diminished.

If you would like to help, then the last Sunday of every month is a Station Sunday, with a list of jobs to do, we hope that volunteers will come along to lend a hand to make our community garden even more beautiful. 

(2) Friends of Glynde Station – FOGS | Facebook

FoGS have also linked up with Firle Church of England Primary school to plan nature workshops to create signs and bug hotels, bird boxes and nature leaflets for children visiting the station. Hopefully bees too!

The local history project is almost complete, with a media station on the platform to show 10 films of interviews with local people up the age of 93! This living history project involved children from the village and school helping to interview locals to hear their stories about the railway, adjoining chalk pit and village life over the last 100 years.  These films will run on a loop in the hut under the bridge, with quotes popped up under the bridge on speech bubbles already in place.  It is going to be fabulous and really add interest for anyone waiting for a train. Did you know that the first ever cable car originated in Glynde? As well as the first ever women’s cricket match between Glynde and Firle …. not mentioning the invention of Stoolball.  For such a small village we have a lot of incredible history.

The speech bubbles will be printed in a dyslexia friendly font and have Braille so they are accessible to more people.

The next steps are to get the trees suffering from ash dieback removed, then move onto the tunnel area. The long term plan is to get the area behind the ticket office cleared and planted, to expose the tunnels that transported chalk and lime out from the local chalk pit, have them lit and open this area to the public on a regular basis.  A hope to have more sculptures from locals in this area too.

A gentleman passenger who uses the station regularly recently remarked to Helen that “He used to wait under the shelter for the train and would get there in the nick of time.  Now he arrives early and saunters down the ramp, taking in all the changes to the train sculpture colours, noticing all the insects with bees buzzing, dragon flies flitting, butterflies softly settling and of course the blossoms blooming”

FoGS have achieved an awful lot over an extraordinary year of restrictions and are really thrilled with the results and so are we they been a fantastic group to support!