Friends of Gillingham Station (FOGS) was set up in 2015 to enhance the station and make it more interesting and welcoming for commuters and visitors. Now a group of approximately 10 volunteers bringing a variety of skills with DIY, planting, baking, administration, historical research, town and district council links and more skills we didn’t know we had! We are an informal group, meeting on a fairly regular basis to carry out work at the station, usually followed by a short meeting in the station café to discuss the way ahead.
Historically, Gillingham Station was a main milk collection point to London (please see separate History section) and to link in with this heritage, improvements to date include the planting of vintage milk churns, buckets and troughs with seasonal planting.
Gillingham Station needs friends!
What we have done so far:
- Planted up vintage milk churns, buckets and large animal water trough with seasonal planting to brighten up the station.
- Provided a book swap scheme in the Waiting Room
- Platform 2: Cleaned up the ‘Gillingham’ sign and planted Spring bulbs/flowers along the green bank.
- Made small improvements to the station, including alterations to the Waiting Room, beverage shelf and notice boards in the Waiting Room.
- Organised a very successful ‘Pop-up’ Birthday event for the Queen’s 90th birthday.
- Decorated the station for Christmas and won an award for ‘The Most Festive Christmas Tree’ along the Blackmore Vale Line.
What we are aiming to do:
- Further improve the appearance of the Waiting Room with appropriate seating and table, including historical information, photographs and plants.
- Improve the heritage of the station: appropriate platform benches and other heritage artefacts we can find.
- Further improve the appearance of the green bank along Platform 2.
- Make improvements to the main Booking Hall.
- Install further noticeboards inside and outside for FOGS information and other local groups with connections to the station.
- Work with Platform 1 Café to make improvements together where we can.
- Plant up more containers.
- Locate a life-sized cow and calf along Platform 2 – part of a Blackmore Vale Line CRP branding initiative
- Investigate the possibility of inviting Raymond Briggs, author of The Snowman, to come to Gillingham to promote his new true story about his parents, ‘Ethel and Ernest’. The story includes the time when Raymond was sent as an evacuee to the countryside to escape the Blitz of WW2 and arrived by train at Gillingham, Dorset.
Why are we doing this?
Because we care about our station and we know how important it is to many thousands of people who use it throughout the year (423,212 in data published December 15). We want them to have a pleasant experience when they visit Gillingham.
How do we do this?
We meet regularly to develop our ‘Plan of Action’, liaising with South West Trains and the newly formed Community Rail Partnership, which supports all the Friends Groups of the six stations along the Blackmore Vale Line, i.e. Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne, Yeovil Junction and Crewkerne.
Why do we want YOU to join us?
We would like YOU to join us to help us achieve our aims and bring with you your individual skills, knowledge, experience to help us make Gillingham Station a very pleasant place to visit. We are one of many local organizations helping to maintain Gillingham as a pleasant and enjoyable place to live and work. If you would like to volunteer with FOGS please get in touch. You can get involved as much or as little as you wish, there are many different tasks: planting/maintaining containers, watering, litter-picking, fund-raising or more formal committee roles.
If you are interested in joining us or would like to know more please see ‘Contact Us’ for more details.
Celebrating HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday – June 2016
The Friends of Gillingham Station were invited to join a countrywide initiative by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (www.acorp.uk.com) to mark the occasion of HM The Queen’s 90th birthday. A ‘Pop-Up’ Birthday party took place at Gillingham Station on Sunday 12 June between 2 and 4 pm. Although it absolutely poured down for the whole time of the event, this did not deter the people of Gillingham from turning out and enjoying themselves. The Mayor of Gillingham opened the refurbished and extended Platform 1 Cafe at 2 pm.
The event included various local organizations: Gillingham Carnival Club, Gillingham Action for Nature, Walkers Are Welcome, Gillingham Beavers group and a local children’s nursery. Local steam enthusiast, Nick Baker, brought along ‘The Burrell’ road locomotive. There was lots of birthday cake and music from members of the Gillingham Imperial Silver Band. Younger members could have their faces painted and take part in some games or a selfie with HM and the corgis! The local History Society/Museum put together a display of photographs and memorabilia of the station in bygone days in this 160th year of the founding of the railway line.
How to contact us
If you are interested in joining us or would like to know more please contact us by email: [email protected] or please contact Gillingham Town Council, leaving your name and contact details or email:
Gillingham Town Council (Dorset)
School Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4QR
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 01747 823588 / 01305 22 1215
More information can be found at the Three Rivers Community Partnership website: http://www.threeriversgillingham.org/node/143
Gillingham is located in the Blackmore Vale and is 4 miles from the Mere Junction of the A303 . There is also a main line station (the line runs from Waterloo (London) to Exeter. The council office is a 5-minute walk from the station.
WAITROSE GREEN TOKEN SCHEME
Friends of Gillingham Station (FOGS) receive a cheque from the Green token Scheme from Lindsay Shakespeare, Manager at Waitrose for the sum of £. This money will go towards station improvements identified in a forward plan by the group working in conjunction with the Blackmore Vale Line, Community Rail Partnership, covering stations from Tisbury to Crewkerne. Planted up vintage milk churns and galvanized buckets have brightened up both platforms for visitors this summer and more planned for the coming season.