Friday 18th September 2020 saw the launch of the Memorable Journeys project at Accrington railway station. Pupils from two local primary schools, Hyndburn Park and Peel Park, have been working with Community Rail Lancashire, Connecting East Lancashire and local Artist Alastair Nicholson to create vibrant artwork which is now on display at the station.
What are Memorable Journeys? This is what the project set out to discover by using the experiences of pupils from the 2 schools. The pupils come from diverse backgrounds, including some pupils who have recently migrated from Syria, their memorable journey to gain refuge in the UK from a war-torn country will be very different from a memorable journey to a holiday destination. Both are important and this project has given the pupils the opportunity to research the idea of a journey that can change lives. Going back in time there were the soldiers in the Accrington Pals who went to the front line in the First World War or those who went on holiday to the seaside during the Wakes Weeks. Central to this is also the role the railway has and continues to play in making these Memorable Journeys.
Shahiesta Raja, CRL’s Community Rail Education Development Officer, said:
This was my first project after joining CRL and can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed working with the pupils and teachers from both schools. They have produced some amazing artwork and I have learned so much about the journeys made by them and their families. It has been a pleasure to work with the pupils. They are a credit to their teachers and families.
Amanda Jenkinson, Project Officer for Connecting East Lancashire added:
“It has been wonderful to see the progress of this project from the initial meeting through to the launch. Everyone concerned has worked through various challenges to produce this fantastic artwork. The children especially should be so proud of what they have produced which will be in situ for all to see. Connecting East Lancashire hopes there will be many more ‘memorable journeys’ starting from, passing through and ending at Accrington Station.”
Alastair Nicholson commented:
“The project was halfway through at the time of the first national Covid-19 lockdown. Completing this project during this pandemic has been extremely challenging and could not have been done without the help of everyone involved. The culmination of our work together has produced bright colourful artwork that reflects how Accrington station is the start and destination for so many memorable journeys for so many people who live in this town.”
Some of the pupils from Hyndburn Park school wrote about the project and what they had liked best. Here are three short extracts:
“It was a lot of fun learning how to paint and finding out about old Accrington.”
“We went to Accrington Library. We did a quiz about the old and new Accrington. Later everyone brought in stories about how their families came here. Personally, that was my favourite part of this project.”
“I had so much fun!… We also went to the train station and Alastair showed us more of the local area so we could find our way to the station and back.”