Press release -

Crewe gets green-fingered display

16 May 2008

Work to transform part of Platform 5 at Crewe rail station into an oasis of calm has been finally completed.

The impressive 48 metre square garden has been created as the result of a competition for Reaseheath Horticultural College developed by Visit Chester & Cheshire and delivered by Virgin Trains, Bridgemere Garden World, Crewe and Nantwich Council and Reaseheath Horticultural College. It is part of a Cheshire-wide campaign to promote the ‘Cheshire’s Year of Gardens 08’ initiative, an extravaganza of events and activities centred on Cheshire’s 29 ‘Gardens of Distinction’.

On hand this week to complete the ambitious garden project by digging in the final floral exhibit was the Mayor of Crewe & Nantwich Cllr Brian Silvester, watched by Cheshire’s Year of Gardens 08 Steering Group Chair, Felicity Goodey CBE, and the Reaseheath student who designed the garden, Debbie Dexter.

Debbie explains “As a garden design student at Reaseheath College this has given me an invaluable insight into how a project is managed from design and build, through to completion and shows what a difference a garden can make. Hopefully this display will encourage others to visit some of the many fantastic gardens in Cheshire this year.”

Virgin Trains Station Manager for Crewe Sam Dixon has been involved in the project from the start “There is a lot of unused space at Crewe and we wanted to do something to make best use of it. Debbie's creation is very eye-catching, but also blends in with the architecture of the station." He said.

“As the main gateway into Cheshire and England’s North West, Crewe Station has a major role in communicating the Gardens of Distinction brand to tens of thousands of residents, visitors and business travellers,” said Visit Chester & Cheshire Chief Executive, Chris Brown.

Felicity Goodey added: “This ambitious project is the result of great teamwork involving garden design students, local businesses and Visit Chester & Cheshire. It will help highlight the fantastic range of garden and cultural opportunities we have in our area, and encourage residents and visitor to take time out to enjoy them.”

Cheshire’s Year of Gardens 08 is one of the biggest initiatives ever launched by local tourism board, Visit Chester & Cheshire, to boost Cheshire’s visitor economy.

It has been developed in partnership with Cheshire County Council, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Rural Enterprise, private sector partners, Virgin Trains, Cheshire Building Society and local councils.

A full programme of activities and events including the Tatton Park Biennial, Orchid and Bluebell Festivals, World Environment Day and the Pumpkin Festival are expected to attract an additional 300,000 visitors and generate an economic impact of £15 million. Its impact will be felt well beyond 2008 and will benefit businesses and communities across Cheshire.

For further information contact the Virgin Trains Press Office on 0845 000 3333, or for more information on Cheshire’s Year of Gardens, visit

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Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997; the current franchise runs to March 2012.

Virgin Rail Group is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach.

Virgin Trains has recently been listed as the Best Train Operator in a survey by the Institute of Customer Service; came joint top of the long-distance train operators for passenger satisfaction in the National Passenger Survey and has been voted Best Rail Company by Travel Weekly magazine

Cheshire’s Year of Gardens is part of a groundbreaking initiative to unlock the tourism-boosting potential of almost 30 garden attractions in Cheshire.

The year will feature a major programme of music, art, theatre, sport and food and drink events at major garden locations including Tatton Park, Lyme Park, Arley Hall and Gardens, Chester Zoo, Jodrell Bank, Ness Gardens, Cholmondeley Castle Gardens and Norton Priory.

Cheshire’s Year of Gardens 08 initiative is being directed by a steering group chaired by Felicity Goodey CBE, a former BBC journalist who is also who is also Lifelong President of the Lowry Trustees.

Joint promotions will also see gardens highlighted to the estimated two million visitors expected to visit the Liverpool 08 celebrations. A group of students from Reaseheath College accepted the challenge to come up with innovative designs for the project. The winning proposal from student Debbie Dexter was selected by representatives from local tourism board Visit Chester & Cheshire, Virgin Trains, Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council, Bridgemere Garden World, Reaseheath College and Landscape Contractors W A P Lawton & Son Ltd.

Debbie lives in Northwich and is currently studying for a Professional Diploma in Garden

Design. The garden has been constructed with plants provided by Bridgemere Garden World.


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