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Hard work of college students honoured by West Somerset Railway

Foundation Learning students at Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) were honoured with a special celebration at the West Somerset Railway’s Watchet Train Station to mark their commitment to revitalising the station.

Students from BTC have worked collaboratively with WSR over the past few years, including refurbishing Watchet station’s garden and green spaces. Due to their hard work and dedication, an event was held by West Somerset Railway, where the students were commemorated with a plaque alongside the reveal of their flowerbed.

The West Somerset Railway, established in 1862 as part of the Bristol and Exeter Railway, was a vital transportation link in the county of Somerset. Initially serving as a crucial route for goods and passenger traffic, the line transitioned into a beloved heritage railway in the latter half of the 20th century.

Despite facing closure, it was revived through volunteer efforts in the past, and has since become one of the country’s premier heritage railways.

Ali Stokes, Course Leader at BTC said the college and students were honoured to be a part of a project which formed a central piece of Somerset’s history.

Ali added: “The joy this project brings to all is truly inspiring. I am so proud of everyone who has joined our journey. The students are continuously developing their life skills, and this WSR volunteering has also given them the opportunity to prepare for a future Duke of Edinburgh Award. It’s been amazing, hard work and great fun. I absolutely loved it, and both the staff and students were amazing to be around.”

The work was a crucial element toward the Foundation Learning programmes’ recent accolade as a Beacon Awards Winner, which recognises the disparity in employment opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities.

Kerry Noble, General Manager, West Somerset Railway, said: “It has been great to be able to celebrate and honour the fantastic work that has been achieved though the collaborative working of the College and the railway. The commitment shown by the students and their tutors, turning out in all weathers, has been amazing.

“The volunteers at Watchet have provided the students with a welcome environment for them to gain key life skills. I hope the partnership will continue for many years, bringing many more young people to the railway to understand about the heritage of the West Somerset.”

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