Reg’s Garden, the pride of Farnborough Street Residents Association(FSRA), went from the overgrown state shown in picture 1, above, to the beautiful manicured look next to it thanks to the unfailing efforts of local community volunteers. The garden was officially opened on September 13th 2021 by Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail, and Mark Hopwood, CEO of GWR.
It’s testament to the way the local community, GWR, NR and Southeast CRP came together under the leadership of Mike Knott (FSRA) and David Daniels (North Downs Line Officer, SCRP) to produce a quite stunning transformation. They were assisted by many other members of FSRA, local students, volunteers from BMW-UK and NR amongst a huge cast.
On receiving the award for 3rd place in the category ‘Station Friends and Adopters at the Heart of the Community’, FSRA Chair, Mike Knott said “This award is a reward for all the hard work the volunteers have put in over the last 18 months, on a project that has undoubtedly brought the community together. In 2022 the next phase of the project begins with both the allotments and the community centre due to start.”
Requests from visitors to purchase the type of benches seen at the garden have been coming in, Mike and his band will be attempting to build them and therefore raise funds for FSRA.
FSRA, supported by SCRP, is trying to strike a deal with NR to rent the old Stationmaster’s House which is accessed via the Garden. At present NR have tenders out to complete the survey work that’s required. Once finished there is a lot of refurbishment to be done but many local groups are already showing an interest in helping or using the building later.