Players and coaches from Luton Town FC’s academy joined staff from Thameslink for a community day at Flitwick station yesterday (Wednesday), tasked with brightening up the station for passengers.
The ‘Hatters’ youth team are helping out at the station as part of the club’s partnership with Thameslink, through which players are supported with free train travel to support their sports development at the club as part of Luton Town FC's youth development programme.
The football club and train operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which runs Thameslink and Great Northern services, in 2017 celebrated 10 years of partnership between the two organisations. GTR has helped hundreds of youngsters gain skills and confidence through sport while studying for a BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport or A-levels at local schools and colleges.
Academy players come from across the operator's network and would struggle to afford the travel needed to get to training under the ‘Luton Town FC Football Programme’ at Cedars Upper School in Leighton Buzzard and The Arena in Baldock, with the travel support playing a key part in development.
The team spent the day planting flowers in new planters and painting fences with Thameslink staff including Station Manager for Bedford to Harlington, Joe Healy, Letchworth Distribution Manager, Sarah Collett, Business Support Manager, Lynn Howarth and their teams from across the route.
The amateur gardeners were also joined by Corey Panter, a defender in Luton’s under 18s team, who was on Tuesday night selected as a substitute for the senior team in their game against Wimbledon FC.
Head of Education and Welfare at Luton Town FC, Dale Brunton, said, “We are delighted for the players to be involved today and to give something back to the local community. This is a great opportunity for us to show these young men are well rounded individuals.”
Katherine Cox, CSR Manager for Govia Thameslink Railway, added, “It's been a great day at Flitwick, working with the academy, our local community and partners to get the station ready for summer. It’s great to have the academy join our station teams to help with the project – we’re looking forward to passengers seeing the improvements!
“Special thanks to all our staff, Luton Town Football Club Academy, Arthur Taylor at Beds Rail User Group, Andy Buckley at Community Rail Partnership, Network Rail and Churchill for making the day a success!”
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria