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Jun 2024

Dedicated Volunteer Remembered at Oldfield Park Station

A bench at Oldfield Park station has been dedicated to a stalwart of the On-Board Community Group.  John Irvine was an active volunteer gardener at the station until he passed away just before his 91st Birthday in 2022.

Each year, John lovingly planted flowers on Platform 1 and will be remembered for his annual feature display in the shape of a train.

During the hundreds of hours he spent tending the flowers on Platform 1,  John  would take great pleasure from chatting  to fellow volunteers and to passengers, always displaying a broad smile.  He continued gardening with gusto long after his 90th Birthday.

Members of the On-Board group gathered  at the station, along with some of John’s friends, neighbours,  members of Severnside Community Rail Partnership and GWR for a special unveiling ceremony of the memorial plaque, performed by founder of On-Board  Cllr June Player.

John was interview by Radio Bristol in 2021, footage of this interview  can be viewed here.

Heather Cullimore of Severnside Community Rail Partnership said ‘John had a strong sense of community, and along with fellow members of On-Board Community Group set about improving the Oldfield Park by planting flowers and making sure they are tended and watered throughout the year.  He was a great character and is much missed.”

Cllr June Player, founder of On Board Community Group said “I certainly miss his  presence in so many ways.  He loved doing the Train section which he so obviously thoroughly enjoyed working on.  It was lovely to see him down at the Station, merrily chatting away, whilst working and he always had a happy word for everyone and – wonderful candies that he usually brought down to share!  Thank you, dear John, for being a part of On-Board.”

Great Western Railway Community Delivery Manager Ann Jenner said:  “This is a fitting tribute to a much-missed member of the On-Board Community Group. His gardening skills were of legendary status at Oldfield Park, so much so that the BBC came along to do a feature in 2021, celebrating his 15 years of service. The bench will provide a lasting reminder of John’s many hours dedicated to helping brighten up the station.”