Dedicated couple stepping down after 30 years of making tiny station sparkle
- Credit: Picture: MEO FAMILY
Three decades ago, a determined couple embarked on a renovation challenge of a lifetime.
Now their efforts as long-standing community heroes have been recognised by the village where they put down their roots back in 1989.
Pat Meo, aged 79, and his wife Rosalyn, aged 69, first met when Mr Meo was restoring a property in Old Catton, north Norwich.
Fast forward a few years and they decided to tackle another project in Lingwood, between the city and Great Yarmouth, this time as a couple.
But they had no idea that Station House would become so much more than just a property.
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Mrs Meo, who is originally from Aylsham, said: “Pat has always been into renovating.
“But I took one look at this property and thought ‘oh my goodness, what have we done?’ “The roof was bad, the floorboards were rotten. It was a complete mess.
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“But it had a lovely garden.”
Following “a lot of hard work” the couple were eventually able to move in during the mid-90s and began running a bed and breakfast, which they retired from last year.
In the end, it took more than two decades to completely renovate the Victorian station house.
However, it is the garden which has continue to bring joy to Mr and Mrs Meo throughout their time at Station House, and also what has brought them recent recognition.
As well as their own garden, the pair have been lovingly tending to Lingwood rail station which backs on to their home.
They were recently presented with some new tools and equipment by Lingwood and Burlingham Parish Council in recognition of the work they do to keep it looking stunning with flower beds and planters.
They have also been nominated for a Broadland Heart of the Community Award, and in 1993 their efforts saw Lingwood named Britain’s Best Kept Station.
In partnership with Greater Anglia, the couple officially took on the role of station adopters and have been tending to flowers there ever since.
The initiative sees local people across the network get involved with their local stations to come up with ideas and projects that benefit their communities.
Community engagement manager Alan Neville, who runs the station adopters scheme, said: “Pat and Ros have been looking after Lingwood station since long before station adoption existed.
“They’ve worked closely with railway managers over the years to make it a welcoming place for their community and created stunning flower displays that have seen the station recognised with awards.
“Their dedication to the station has been breath-taking and I’d like to thank them for everything they have done to make Lingwood station such a lovely place.”
The station boasts an array of flower beds and attractive tubs planted with flowers including lupins, geraniums, salvia, petunias, busy lizzies and marigolds provided by the nearby Moulton Nurseries.
Cathy Pye, chair of the parish council, said: “We are immensely grateful to Pat and Ros for all their hard work in keeping the station and surroundings looking so good over many years of dedicated service.
“As a community, we are immensely proud of the station and them. Their work has done so much to enhance the appearance of the station for passengers and the parish in general.”
Mrs Meo described it as a labour of love which they both liked as they loved to see the platform “looking so pretty”.
“It looks quite lovely in the summer and has lots of colour.”
Now the couple are hoping to take a back seat, due to retirement, and are on the hunt for a volunteer to help with its upkeep.
Mr Meo added: “We decided to take a back step and we are looking for a volunteer to come and help with the garden - we still tend to the garden at the top.”
To volunteer, contact Cathy Pye by emailing email@example.com or ringing 01603 715829.