HE’s been station master in Aberdour for almost 20 years and this week Trevor Francis’ dedication to the local community has been recognised with a special honour.
Trevor (67), was given an MBE in the birthday honours for his services to the community.
He admits the MBE came as a surprise: “I knew in April and my initial reaction was ‘wow, this is what you expect to get from the Cabinet Office’.
“It was totally unexpected and I had to sit on it all those weeks until it was announced.
“I’ve since received dozens and dozens of cards in the mail, as well as some bottles of wine and champagne.
“People have been coming to visit to congratulate me the last few days too.
“It’s so gratifying to realise how many people appreciate you.
“It’s very rewarding. It doesn’t make you big headed, it’s just quite humbling that efforts you have grown into doing each day have been recognised.”
The cards and gifts Trevor has received since the honours list was announced at the weekend have come from far and wide, including a few from Europe.
Father of two Trevor has manned the ticket office at the village train station since December 1993.
In his spare time he spends up to six hours a day nurturing floral displays and maintaining a variety of plants, shrubs and trees which attract wildlife including woodpeckers.
His dedication to improving the station’s environment was rewarded with an accolade for ‘Best Station Garden’ at the Community Rail Awards in 2005.
His work has also helped Aberdour win the ‘Best Kept Village’ title for the Fife Council area for two years running.
The creation and upkeep of the huge variety of floral displays, plants and hanging baskets at Aberdour station are down to his hard work.
And his MBE came from a recommendation made by the local community.
He told the Press: “When I first came here I’d never done a hanging basket in my life.
“I thought I’d have a wee garden and keep the tradition of the station looking nice going.
“When you do it you start to learn what works best and what you like and that’s what I’ve done.
“It becomes part of the scenery in Aberdour and it’s always had the tradition of being made beautiful in the summer.”
Although with his arthritis, Trevor said his wife, Rosemary, has been a “great help” to him looking after the garden this year.
He continued: “I enjoy my work immensely, I love coming to work and I enjoy looking after my customers.
“From day one, I took ownership of the station, but it was not just about that.
“It was about the community, the village life - and helping people.
“If an older lady asks you to come down at 6pm to make sure she gets on the train okay to go to the theatre you could say no, but why would you?
“It’s just a natural thing to do to say yes and come and help.
“You’d do it for your mum.
“Customers are all friends and some are like depute mums.
“It’s no hassle to do something a little extra for people.
“It’s all part of being among the people of Aberdour.
“They are a special kind of people, to all intents and purposes they are like no one else.
“When you live in Aberdour you live in a kind of comfort blanket and are woven into a way of life.
“I don’t live in Aberdour, I live in Burntisland, but over the years I got woven into the fabric and I’m part of life here.
“It’s a wonderful community to be part of and I really appreciate the honour they have bestowed upon me.
“This means a lot as it is generated by the ordinary man in the street.
“It has fulfilled my life, and I cannot thank the community enough.
“It’s a lovely role and I’m not giving up on it yet.
“It’s a joy to keep the station well-maintained and to see the pleasure that the displays give.”
Steve Montgomery, Scotrail’s managing director, said: “Everyone is delighted.
“The honour is thanks to all Trevor’s hard work, is a great example of what can be achieved, and just shows how important a role he and the railway plays in the community.”