Award for Essay about Westerfield Station Bees

Westerfield bee competition winner
Elliot Clarke is presented with his prize by Sandy Burn, Westerfield station adopter Sandy Burn

A schoolboy who wrote an essay about the importance of bees has won first prize in a competition organised by Westerfield rail station’s team of volunteer station adopters.

Elliott Clarke, 7, wrote about ‘A day in the life of a Westerfield station bee.’ The essay was told from the perspective of a bee watching the trains go by as it visited the station’s expansive wildlife and bee friendly garden.

Elliott won the top prize of a trip to Kew Gardens on a Greater Anglia train for his efforts.

The competition was launched by Westerfield station’s team of volunteer station adopters, who have created a large wildlife garden alongside the station platform and are working locally to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and conserving nature.

Led by volunteer station adopter, Sandy Burn, the team has planted several hundred perennials, grasses and wildflowers on the 72-square metre site. The volunteers also built and installed a hexagonal planter for the platform in which the 1st Westerfield cubs planted herbs for local people to help themselves.

Interpretation boards were recently installed in the garden in partnership with the Suffolk Butterfly Conservation Trust and Friends of the Earth to help people identify the bees and butterflies they spot.

The project aims to improve the wellbeing of local people and provide a haven for wildlife.

Funding was provided by the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Community Rail Network and Westerfield Parish Council with in-kind support from Greater Anglia and the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.

The station adopers have also just completed an additional wildlife area with the theme of ‘Reuse, Recycle, Recover and Reduce waste’ which contains ‘dead hedges’, log pyramids, raised Hugelkultur beds and a bug habitat shelter for wildlife. The scheme was funded by the East Suffolk Council as part of their Green Communities project and Westerfield Parish Council.

Sandy said, “We came up with the idea of a writing competition to raise awareness of the importance of bees in the local environment and to encourage conversation locally to help these fascinating creatures.

“We think that Elliot and our two runners up – Jack and Austin – rose to the occasion with individual, entertaining and educational entries that really made us smile.

“Thank you to Greater Anglia, the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail partnership and Westerfield Parish Council for donation of the prizes which we hope the children will enjoy.”

Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said: “We are very grateful to Sandy and her fellow volunteers, Laura and Yvonne, for the amazing work they are doing at Westerfield.

“Wildlife friendly projects at stations like this are helping the railway in East Anglia to lead the green revolution by being a much greener way to travel – and our new fleet of trains will contribute even more thanks to their more environmentally friendly features which reduce CO2 and particulate emissions in the region further still.”