Lockdown/Burst-Out Competitions: Gardening, Stories and Art

Plant a seed!  Look to the future

While station gardening activities have been postponed, we would very much welcome any flowers or herbs you can grow for us at home – we’ll need to replant our station tubs after lockdown is lifted and hope to have some specially creative displays this year.  Anything goes!

After lockdown, we will put our station gardens back in order with a gardeners’ tea party.

Please contact us to let us know what you’ve planted, and when you expect your seedling to appear.  Keep a record of all the steps you’ve taken, the materials you’ve used, the results you expect and the results you get!

Write to us and tell us your name, what you’ve planted, when, where you’re keeping it and how you’re caring for it, and when you expect to see green shoots.  All ages welcome! 


Prizes! All entrants will receive packets of wildflower seed to grow at home or at school.

Writing Competition

Through recent adventures with our Junior Travel Ambassadors, Melbourn Village College Young Carers and new Cambridge-bound Sixth Formers, we know that many children and young people will have some good stories to tell about travelling by train.  

Choose one topic for our writing competition:

  • My first journey by train – where, when and why?  

What surprised you?  What did you like best and worst about your local station? Who did you meet on the train?   

  • I’m in charge!

You’re in charge of our train company.  Set out your plan and describe the new service:   What will it be called? Where will it run? How many carriages, and what will each carriage be designed to hold?  Who gets the discounts? Will there be food? What changes will you need to make at your local station?  

  • Great Escape

You have four days on the run to get to as faraway a destination as possible.  Travelling by a combination of train, boat and bicycle, where would you go and what would you do when you get there?  Write a trip diary.

  • Brighton Day Tripper

You’re off to Brighton for the day, with a mission to visit five city destinations during your stay.  Write a trip guide, to include three of Brighton’s well-known destinations but also two less-known delights.  You may leave as early as you like and return as late as you dare.   

  • Invisible, on a mystery tour

You set off after breakfast, at your local station, to a destination unknown until the day before departure.  An Invisibility Cloak has been dispatched to you from King’s Cross Platform 9 ¾. And so, you have the opportunity to observe unnoticed any aspect of the train as it moves along – you could sit in First Class, for example.  Or next to the driver. Upon destination, you will be required to visit a pub, a park and a gift shop, with task of bringing back evidence that you’ve successfully completed this tour. You must figure out the timetable to get back to home base before the last train has gone.  Write a diary of your day! 

Art Competition

Produce an image inspired by the following: 

  • A trip you’ve taken 
  • A place you love 
  • A person you’re keeping in touch with during lockdown

Use any of the following means to create your image:

  • Electronic art – use a phone, tablet or computer 
  • Pencil – black and white only
  • Paint of any kind
  • Collage – fabric pieces, recycling bits, items from your garden

Stuff you need to know – Writing and Art competitions:

Two categories: 

  • Aged 10 and under
  • Aged 11-17

Deadline: Given continuing restrictions, we’ve decided to extend the competition deadline until the end of summer term. New deadline July 21st, up until midnight.

Prizes!  1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes:

  • Family group off-peak return tickets for days out on the Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services (up to 2 adults and 3 children up to age 14) 
  • Tea in London with the head of our train company

Send your entries electronically (Word or PDF if possible for writing; a picture or scan for art) to railusergroup@gmail.com.  Include your name, age, address and contact details (this information will be used to contact you about the results only, and then destroyed).

Entries to be judged by a special panel to include:

  • Bern Parsons, Meldreth Ticket Office Manager
  • Rebecca Willers, Shepreth Wildlife Park
  • The Davis Family, The Plough Shepreth

Winning entries will be posted at meldrethsheprethfoxtonrail.org.uk and on the national Govia Thameslink website.

Any questions?  Contact us at: 

Susan van de Ven (susanvandeven5@gmail.com

Sarah Grove (sarahgrove.msfcrp@gmail.com)