Each month the SCRP will focus on one of our lines and feature news about a station partner, volunteer, or project to highlight the work that we do. This month it’s the Marshlink Line.
Much loved member of our team Kevin Barry, Development Officer for the Marshlink line is leaving us for a new career in the green and pleasant land that is Wales.
It has been nearly six years since I joined the SCRP, covering the Marshlink Line. I can remember very clearly my first day in the office at Rye Station. I had a welcoming call from my manager, Sam Lear, who asked if everything was ok on my first day and was there anything I needed?. I clearly worried Sam as I said “everything is fine, except for the sound of the train going past my window on the platform”. As we all do, I got used to it and quite enjoyed listening to the arrivals and departure notices over the sound system.
The very first thing that struck me was the brilliant welcome I received , not only from the staff and directors of the SCRP, but also from the staff and managers of Southern. This feeling of being in amongst people who are enjoying what they are doing with a common aim of integrating with the local communities, and identifying with volunteers, communal activities for all people of all ages and abilities was , for me, energising.
My line chairman, Kevin Boorman who I owe a lot to, asked if I could attend the Board meeting In Lewes Council offices the following week. In my previous life I had learnt that board meetings could be stressful and take all day. So with some trepidation I agreed. I was glad that I did. It was a positive and joyful session that only took a couple of hours. It was there that it was announced that because my line chairman is also called Kevin, so as not to be confused, he said I was happy to be called Taff, which was a bit of a surprise as I am Irish!
I have seen the SCRP go from a small team covering some stations to now a large team covering a vast area. The SCRP is a trusted organisation which has raised the bar by meeting the demands of people with disabilities , Dementia, people of a mature age etc..
One day when I was in my office, there was a knock at the door and a lady put her head around the door and asked, “I want to volunteer to clear up the rubbish outside, can you help?” When I realised that she was not asking me to help pick up the rubbish, I quickly signed her up, It was the start of what was going to be a very busy time for all concerned, and fun all the way.
Over the next few years I have been supported by the volunteers from Network Rail, thanks to Andrew Wood, Southern, Canterbury Oast Trust, Friary Gardeners, Rye Museum, Captain Pugwash and many others. All the projects have involved the community and have left their mark as a sign of appreciation for all the help. It has made me very proud to be a small part of the success.
I must also thank the members of the Marshlink Steering Group, who only ever turned up if there was some home made welsh cakes on the table!!. They are a great team and let me get on with what had to be done with their full support. When I looked around the table and saw individuals sitting next to their colleagues from Hastings Borough Council, East Sussex County Council and Kent County Council, along with other associations, all working together it made me feel proud and pleased to be part of a team who were proactive.
I have had three station managers who have also been very supportive ,Graham Thrower, Simon Greenfield and Kate Richards, they certainly made my job a lot easier, and I must not forget Dave from maintenance who just got the job done!
There are so many other people who I should thank, like Lucy in the Café next door to the station who provided me with coffee and in return I brought in Welsh cakes which she sold! Terry from FOAST in Appledore who is achieving loads with his team. John from Winchelsea station who against adversity got the Sunday service back. The list could go on. But I could not end without giving a massive Welsh Cwtch (cuddle) to Kevin Boorman for his continued support, vision, calmness, energy and most of all friendship. To me Kevin typifies what the Sussex Community Rail Partnership is.
Finally my very best wishes to Fiona , my manager, and my fellow Community Rail Officers, Sharon, David, Rowena , Catherine, Maddy and Trevor who is the figures man!
Kevin Boorman, Chair of the Marshlink line steering group, added :-
“How can I follow that? I really can’t except to say that Taff is one of the most sincere, genuine, and nice people I’ve ever met. He’s got an uncanny way of getting on with everybody, and getting things done. He has worked wonders on the Marshlink over the past six years, and I will really, really miss him. I thank him most sincerely for all he’s done, and wish him the very best for the future.”
To see more about the work of the Marshlink Line and other station partners along the Marshlink Line keep checking the News on our website. For more information about volunteering on this Line please contact Catherine Simmons – email@example.com.
If you’d like to join any of our station partnership groups across the SCRP, or have an idea to enhance a station, please contact us.