A Southern station assistant at the heart of the Uckfield community has been remembered with a plaque and nine yellow rose bushes – to signify the nine years she worked at the station.
Mother-of-three Diane Pryce, 59, loved her job at Uckfield station and was in turn much-loved by the local community who use the railway line.
Sadly, Diane died from cancer in October last year and despite being ill, she continued to work just days before she passed away. One of her wishes was to have her favourite yellow roses planted at the station, and Station Manager Donna Anderson also came up with the idea of installing a plaque in her honour.
On Saturday, March 21, there was a small gathering to mark the unveiling of the display with Diane’s husband Peter, daughter Chloe and son Alex in attendance, alongside Ian Smith, Chairman of Uckfield Railway Line Parish Committee, Beryl Venables of Brighter Uckfield and Roy Thompson from Uckfield Rotary. The group observed social distancing given the current advice with regards to Covid-19.
Donna, who was also in attendance, said: “Di was great; she was an amazing lady and truly well thought of in the community. She was just such a friendly person – nothing was too much trouble, and I think that’s why people warmed to her. A lot of the older passengers who travelled from Uckfield to the doctors in Buxted would tell her about their ailments. Other people would just pop into the station to have a chat with her. We wanted to do something to remember Di.”
Diane grew up in Newhaven and had lived in Uckfield since 1984. Speaking of his late wife, Peter said: “Diane worked up until a few days before she died, such was her love of the job. She had quite a strong work ethic and it was important for her to be at work for as long as possible. People said she did a marvellous job and it meant a lot that people recognised that.
“We’re very touched by the tribute at the station. It was what Diane wanted. She knew she wasn’t going to survive the illness, so she had a few things prepared and she wanted yellow roses planted there.”
Photo credit: Govia Thameslink Railway