Lifetime achievement award for community rail champion and second prize for school photo project from Sleaford

Peter Roberts MBE receiving the ACoRP Lifetime Achievement Award from ACoRP chief executive, Jools Townsend (left) and managing director of West Midlands Trains, Jan Chaudhry van der Velde (right). EMN-190410-174410001
Peter Roberts MBE receiving the ACoRP Lifetime Achievement Award from ACoRP chief executive, Jools Townsend (left) and managing director of West Midlands Trains, Jan Chaudhry van der Velde (right). EMN-190410-174410001

New rail franchise holder for the region, East Midland Railways and its community partners scooped numerous awards at the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) Community Rail Awards.

The ACoRP awards were held in Telford yesterday (Thursday) and recognised the unsung heroes of the community rail world for their hard work and dedication.

EMR says it is committed to supporting community rail in engaging communities and helping people get the most from their railways and promotes social inclusion, sustainable travel and bringing stations back to life.

Over the course of their franchise, EMR will be investing over £4 million into community development, supporting partnerships with local tourism bodies, visitor attractions and heritage railways. They will be working with stakeholders to ensure every community reaps the benefits of the investment.

Donna Adams, Community Rail Manager for EMR said: “ACoRP’s Community Rail Awards are the highlight of the year for our community rail partners, where their great work and dedication is celebrated and recognised.

“It’s fantastic to have won so many awards which involve our community rail partners and station adoption groups. They are all deserving entries and I would like to pass on my thanks and appreciation for all those that have been involved.

“These awards are a well-deserved endorsement of all the fantastic work that goes on across our community rail lines every day to help us improve our railway and to attract more people onto our train services.”

The Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership and St George’s Academy, Sleaford came second in the photo competition and video competition for best community rail in action image.

Meanwhile a Sleaford man was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the national awards

Peter Roberts MBE, from Sleaford, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual awards gala dinner.

Peter has been a key figure in the community rail movement for decades, becoming chairman of its umbrella body ACoRP in 2003. Over a period of 15 years, Peter is said to have overseen some massive changes to community rail and ACoRP, and always led by example, demonstrating sound judgement and good humour. During his time as chairman, Peter was instrumental in supporting a major reorganisation process that saw the ACoRP team double in size, championing the expansion and praising new ideas and enthusiasm to support the wider growth in community rail nationally.

Peter was awarded the MBE in 2009 for his services to rural transport.

The Community Rail Awards, now in its 15th year, recognises the important and often unsung work carried out by community rail partnerships, station friends and other community rail groups across the country. The awards shine a light and reward the breadth of important work happening across this grassroots movement, helping to share good practice, spread the word about community rail’s contribution to mobility, sustainability, prosperity and wellbeing, and encourage more people to get involved.

The awards were hosted by ACoRP chief executive Jools Townsend and managing director of West Midlands Trains, Jan Chaudhry van der Velde. They were attended by 450 community rail officers, chairmen, volunteers and partners, and senior government and rail industry figures.

Jools Townsend said: “Our congratulations, and gratitude, go to Peter Roberts, receiving a much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless work advocating on behalf of the community rail movement. These awards celebrate the passion and hard work of community rail partnerships and volunteers across Britain, who make up a growing grassroots movement, striving to make a difference to local people. Community rail work often goes unsung, but awareness and involvement is on the increase: this year a record 450 community rail representatives, and their rail industry and government partners, saw the Community Rail Awards presented at an inspiring ceremony. The efforts of Peter and all our winners, show how important community rail is, connecting local people with their railways, and building happier, more inclusive and sustainable communities.”