Rail passengers at Ilkley Railway Station will now be welcomed to the town by a series of colourful and eye-catching artwork pieces depicting Ilkley which have been designed by children from local primary schools Ashlands, Ben Rhydding, Ghyll Royd, Moorfield and Sacred Heart.
The new artwork panels adorn the five large station planters which take pride of place on the station forecourt and they were officially unveiled on Friday 23rd June at a ceremony attended by the participating school children, representatives from Northern Rail, the registered charity Friends of Ilkley Railway Station (FOIRS) and Ilkley Business Improvement District.
Each school was awarded a Discover Ilkley certificate by Helen Rhodes, Ilkley BID Manager, in recognition of the positive contribution the children have made to the station and the town in line with the BID’s mission to showcase Ilkley, attract visitors and ensure that the town prospers.
The planters were established at the station in June 2022 following a competition involving the same primary schools to design and create their own floral creations and were judged by TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh with Ashlands Primary School announced the proud winner.
Since then, the schools have maintained and replanted them for both the winter period and more recently for summer 2023 to ensure that they are in peak condition. Now with their newly decorated panels they will be enjoyed by both local commuters and visitors to the town for many years to come.
As Stephen Thornton from the FOIRS group says: “We’ve had such positive feedback about the beautiful floral planters since they were established in the station last year and their new artwork panels are fantastic. We’re very impressed with the quality of the children’s drawings and the care and thought that each school has given to their designs. We love that the planters and their artwork panels are so vibrant and welcoming and we know that they bring a smile to commuters’ and visitors’ faces when they see them.”
The planter and artwork scheme forms part of the FOIRS’ vision to engage with the local community to make the station environment more inviting and appealing. They already hold a festive music event on the concourse every Christmas as well as regular collections for the children’s cancer charity, Candlelighters, and on July 8th, the station will be an official venue for the Ilkley Live Music Festival.
There is also a longer term vision to create a transport and community hub for the town encompassing rail, bus and taxis. To this end, a cross-organisation Ilkley Rail & Bus Board has been established bringing together stakeholders which include Network Rail, Northern Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Bradford Council, Ilkley Town Council, Ilkley BID and Robbie Moore MP to determine how Ilkley station can best serve its residents and tourists.
Over summer, FOIRS will be holding a volunteers’ work day to tidy up the station concourse which Northern Rail will support with staff and materials. The Friends group is asking for any members of the community to come and help and it will also be an opportunity to learn more about the future initiatives for Ilkley station by the Ilkley Rail & Bus Board. The date will be announced in the next few weeks.