FIVE stations managed by Northern Rail on the Mid-Cheshire Line have been recognised at an annual awards ceremony.

Chelford, Handforth, Northwich, Plumley and Delamere stations were presented with their awards by David Briggs, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, at the event, held at the Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse, Northwich.

The awards, now in their 10th year, are a community partnership that encourages cleaner, tidier and more hospitable stations in Cheshire.

Chelford station was given the top prize of the night, named ‘Overall Winner’, with Plumley crowned ‘Tidiest Station’.

Chelford station impressed the judges due to the vast improvements made since village volunteers began caring for the station six years ago.

Northwich station won the ‘ACoRP Award’, which is supported by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, and recognises creative partnership working at stations.

Delamere station was handed the ‘Youth Challenge’ award in recognition for work carried out on the gardens by young people from Petty Pool College.

Handforth station was also honoured with a ‘Special Diamond Jubilee’ award for its eye-catching work with Wilmslow Grange Primary School. Pupils were asked to ‘express themselves with art fit for the Queen’ and the results were displayed in the booking office.

Rose Hill station won ‘The Big Society Award’, which recognises communities that want to make a positive change at their local railway station.

Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail, praised the role of volunteers on the Mid Cheshire and Crewe to Manchester Line for their support in making these stations stand out.

He said: “Our volunteers recognise the importance of the contributions of all our partners in creating warm and welcoming environments for passengers at our stations. We’re thrilled to see their hard work, dedicated and passion for their local communities honoured.”

On Chelford’s award of the ‘Best Kept Station, organiser John Hulme said: “Chelford Station deserves to win this top award. Six years ago this village station was both neglected and uncared for but now thanks to a handful of village volunteers our judges declared it the Best in Cheshire.

“I am sure part of Chelford’s success is the support they get from their Parish Council and other local organisations.”

John Oates, chairman of the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership (for Delamere, Northwich and Plumley), said: “We are absolutely delighted with the three wins on the Mid Cheshire Line which connects Chester with Manchester via Knutsford.”

Mike Bishop, founding director of ACORP, said: “The Association of Community Rail Partnerships, which represents more than 50 community rail partnerships and more than 50 station Friends and rail promotion groups, is pleased to support Chester Best Kept Stations.

“While the ACoRP Award 2012 goes to Northwich Railway Station it also recognises and congratulates the other stations in Cheshire that have won awards.”