This Halloween, Shortlands station hosted a charity fund-raising event in aid of equipment for local Valley Primary school.

Families flocked to the ticket office for sweets, cakes and a ghoulish experience.

The creator of this event, Dee Janes, railway booking office worker, welcomed visitors to her spooky array of characters including demonic surgeons, creepy clowns and supernatural beings.                                                                                                                                      Dee’s makes all her own exhibits and they are so creative she has become something of a local celebrity.

Using her own time and resources, Dee has put on many events at the station to fundraise for charities including Demelza, the south London children’s hospice, CASPA (supporting Autism) and Help for Heroes. Over 10 years she has raised over £176,000.

At Halloween and Christmas, commuters travelling through the station are treated to especially vivid and artistic exhibitions.                                                                                                                                    She tells me that the exhibits for this Halloween have been weeks in the making. ‘I buy loads of broom handles, dolls, wigs and wooden stands.’ she says. ‘You’ve got to the make them look real. I use my imagination, to me that’s being creative.’

Then she shows me a clown figure wrapped in a bin bag. Gruesome!

I’m amazed at the variety of items used to bring it all to life: mannequins, masks, plastic medical supplies, fake gravestones, and lots of red paint. Madame Tussaud would be proud!                                                                                                                                            Locals are divided in their opinions. As Dee explains, ‘Some people say I make them too real. Other people have said they are un-Christian. Our operating theatre has caused the biggest uproar this year. I’ve had complaints that they are too bloody or graphic.’

In a corner of the ticket office in a fenced-off area, this display is splattered with tonnes of red paint and makes me jump with fright! But Dee as explains, that’s the whole point.                                                                                                                                                        ‘Sometimes I like to shock. I like to give 110 per cent if I can.’ She says, ‘I’m fascinated by physiology and anatomy’. But, she explains, ‘it’s all for a good cause.’

‘Two years ago, the most talked about item was the zombies jumping out of the coffin – but they got banned’.

Controversial or not, over the years, the exhibition and Halloween night events have proved popular, raising thousands for charity. She explains that during the Covid lockdown, hundreds of people turned up - the queue for the display stretched all the way under Shortlands Bridge!

This Halloween, children and parents came dressed in their own costumes and the ticket office was transformed with dry ice and sound-effects. The atmosphere was fun, spooky and unforgettable.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       As Dee herself says, ‘I’m going full hog this year, if the kids aren’t running out screaming, I haven’t succeeded!’