Great Western Railway and the Bee Friendly Trust team up for a mural project at Pangbourne Station
A bright, ornate mural of bees brightened up the underground tunnel at Pangbourne Station, raised awareness of pollinators and celebrated a worker’s 20-year service.
Helen Stock, a 45-year-old ticket agent who worked on the railway for two decades and in Pangbourne for 16 years, wanted to improve the appearance of the station for her regular customers.
The immersive mural, which makes you feel like you’re inside a vibrant beehive, aims to educate people about the good work bees do for the environment while enhancing the look of the station.
Ms Stock said of the project: “I am always looking for more volunteers or any other input. I want the station to be part of the community, so I just want to get more involved.
“I am totally open to all ideas and suggestions from my clients. It’s not just my station, it’s all of us.
The ticket agent, who works Monday to Wednesday mornings at Pangbourne, wanted to celebrate her 20 years of service – a milestone she reached last October – by making the station more welcoming.
Ms Stock came up with the idea of planting flower beds and painting the underground tube tunnel herself, which she presented to her manager who contacted the Great Western Railway project team.
Bee Friendly Trust, a charity dedicated to raising awareness of pollinators by creating public educational artwork and installing wildlife habitats for bees, got involved and helped the project take shape.
Emma Pritchard from Bee Friendly said: “We really want to support bees and pollinators and show how you can take neglected pockets of land and turn them into an attractive habitat for wildlife.”
Alongside the mural, the Pangbourne project has also seen the charity clear brambles around the station and plant bee-friendly shrubs and flowers to encourage pollination.
The charity said it was always on the lookout for unique places to showcase artwork and had long wanted to create an immersive installation to make people feel like they were in a colony of bees.
Bee Friendly jumped at the chance when they discovered Pangbourne Underground and came into contact with The Mural Artists, a collective of artists and designers who create murals across the UK and specialize specifically in nature-themed projects, to create the immersive room. .
Andy Stanak, an artist who is part of The Mural Artists, worked 13-hour shifts over five days from Tuesday May 10 to Saturday May 14 to complete the project.
He said: “I was over the moon and really happy with the mural because it gives the impression of being inside a beehive. The idea was crazy and I was really happy to do it.
The mural, which features a section of the 45-meter-long subway tunnel painted in orange and yellow hexagons to represent a honeycomb in a beehive, was digitally designed by Chris, another member of The Mural Artists.
He said, “Oftentimes the public doesn’t realize until they stand in front of something like this the positive impact large-scale works of art like this can have on people. They brighten up spaces, make them more pleasant and bring a little joy into people’s lives.
In addition to the beehive design, there are also a number of bees lining the tunnel and train station stairs. A selection of flowers were also incorporated into the design at Ms. Stock’s request.
Mr Stanak also said of the time he spent painting the mural: ‘The best thing was that everyone who passed by was smiling. On the way to work, people were thanking me for brightening up the place and making it more welcoming.