A GREEN fingered volunteer has helped transform a train station platform in less than a year.

Braintree station now has a greener and more colourful feel to it thanks to the hard work of Gary Miller.

Mr Miller was handed the role of station adopter just under 12 months ago by Greater Anglia and has now installed 12 planters on the platform and four in the forecourt area.

He was handed £1,000 by the Community Rail Partnership to make give the station a friendlier feel.

Jayne Summer, an officer for the partnership, said: "We advertised for a station adopter at Braintree station and were delighted when Gary stepped forward as he is very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and community-focused.

"We meet with him regularly to offer support and always learn something new about gardening in the process.

"We look forward to continuing to work with Gary to help enhance the station for the benefit of the whole community and encourage more people to use their local rail station."

Mr Miller is said to have honed his gardening skills while working with his father on the family allotment.

He has had to battled extreme heat in recent weeks and water his displays on a regular basis to keep the plants healthy.

Mr Miller has also been able to draw on his experience in the chemical analysis industry to keep the plants at Braintree station looking their best.

Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said, “It’s amazing what Gary has achieved in under a year and the station looks lovely as a result.

“We are very grateful for his commitment and enthusiasm and the ongoing work of the Community Rail Partnership that has really transformed Braintree station and provides a warm welcome to anyone visiting the town by train.”

Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption scheme enables individuals or groups to adopt their local railway station and contribute to its presentation and welfare for the benefit of the local community.

The voluntary scheme was originally created to improve lines of communication between the train operator and station users however, over the years it has grown to become much more, with station adopters now playing an active role in keeping stations looking good through inventive gardening projects, creative community art projects, taking part in station ‘health checks’ or being the eyes and ears of their station.

Over the years, station adopters have also played a key role in raising money for new initiatives, such as improved waiting facilities or planting beautiful station gardens.