Ann’s meadow: a living memorial at the station

The railway children: helping to create a meadow of flowers

It looks like a scene from The Railway Children – three little girls sitting on the platform at Furness Vale train station.  But look behind the bench: a beautiful garden, as spring gets ready to welcome summer.  The garden has just been extended. For about 200 yards along the platform, which receives Stockport and Manchester bound trains, one of Furness Vale’s best kept secrets is quietly growing, thanks largely to the Friends of Furness Vale Station.

Mayor David Lomax gets down to some physical work in the garden

On Saturday 28 April, volunteers including children scattered seeds which later this summer should grow into a natural, meadow-like section at the southern end of the platform garden.  Other volunteers, including High Peak’s outgoing mayor David Lomax (who is also a Whaley Bridge town councillor) were using spades and rakes to add life and plants to another section of the garden.

As a train passes by, volunteers organise new planting

Planting Day commemorated the work of Ann Picot, motivational garden designer and former secretary of the Friends.  She died in February, not very long after completing plans for the meadow area.  Helpers filled this new patch with wild flower seeds, which should bring summer and autumn blooms to the station for years ahead.  As a tribute to a treasured colleague, the Friends are calling it Ann’s Meadow.

Ann Picot at the 2009 Friends of Furness Vale Station Plant Sale Open Day

Ann was only 59 when she died.  She had worked on her final plans for the meadow area while battling the cancer which was to take her life.

Ann’s husband Nigel Marshall has taken over Ann’s role as secretary of the Friends.  He helped to see the fruition of phase three of the platform garden,  following Ann’s meticulous plans.

There is another garden in Furness Vale, designed some years ago by Ann as part of a special project for Furness Vale primary school.

Volunteers have to maintain the platform garden around the year.  Apart from a three month break in winter, the garden needs constant attention.  This year the team will have the gratifying task of seeing a beautiful paper plan coming to life, a truly fitting memorial to Ann Picot.

To become a volunteer or to get further information about the Friends, get in touch with Nigel Marshall on 01663 744 995 or email him on

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