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Stagecoach Champions Awards 2016

04 Nov 2016

Employees from across Stagecoach Group have been recognised at our annual Champions Awards.

The awards – now in their seventh year – recognise excellence over six areas including Safety, Health, Community, Customer Service, Environment and Innovation.

Both our bus and rail businesses in the UK and North America were represented at the awards and the winners all received a trophy, cash prize and a two night stay in London incorporating the award ceremony.

The event was also attended by TV personality Ferne McCann, who presented winners with their awards. Earlier this year Ferne successfully obtained her bus driving licence after training with Stagecoach London as part of a recruitment project to encourage more female bus drivers.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “We have a fantastic team of almost 40,000 employees across Stagecoach and our Champions Awards are about celebrating those who have delivered above and beyond expectations over the past year.  

“From the UK to North America, from bus to rail, and from background teams to frontline workers, we are delighted to have honoured the exceptional people who make a real difference to our business and to our customers every day.

“I would like to offer huge congratulations to all of our Champions and say thanks to them for the part they play in delivering high-quality services to our passengers.”

The 2016 Stagecoach Champions are as follows:

Safety Champion

GOLD: Ricardo Clarke, Rail Community Officer, Clapham Junction, South West Trains

Ricardo helped British Transport Police at Ascot Station on a night a nearby pub was holding a music event after crowds inundated the station. His bravery and actions to maintain safety were most evident when, among the crowds, a man violently assaulted a police constable. Ricardo spotted the incident and intervened. Even though he was not equipped with the same protective equipment as PCs, he managed to stop the assault and was injured in doing so. Later that night, Ricardo came across a female who was having an asthma attack. He arranged for an ambulance and remained calm and professional before paramedics took over 30 minutes later.

SILVER: Richard Veater, Fleet and Maintenance Manager, Powder River Transportation Services, Inc, Coach USA.

Richard has a strong commitment to a preventative maintenance programme and follow-up repairs. He’s ensured repainting of the workshop and its walkways to reduce employee exposure to accidents and injuries. Richard is regularly in the shop area providing advice or assistance, or on road calls. He completes all this while still keeping up with his reporting, analysis and managerial responsibilities.

BRONZE: David Waller, Trimmer, Stagecoach London

David won the award for his role in helping ensure the safety of people involved in two separate incidents. In the first he assisted a motorcyclist who skidded on loose stones and mud, hit a road sign post as he came off the bike, and injured his shoulder and leg. In a second incident, Dave came across a two-year-old boy standing in the middle of a roundabout in his pyjamas. He stopped his bus, called police and stayed with the child until police and the child’s mother arrived, reassuring the young boy and keeping him company.



Environment Champion

GOLD: James Dolling, Flagship Station Manager, Clapham Junction, South West Trains

James has been praised for his “exceptional and intelligent leadership” of the South West Trains Environmental Improvement team. His passion for sustainability is infectious and has motivated his team.  All members of the team have been given clear objectives and it has resulted in improved staff engagement, recycling initiatives, lower costs, energy and water reduction and collaborative working with stakeholders. 

SILVER: John Rentoul, Train Presentation Maintenance Band, South West Trains

John received a number of nominations for the outstanding work he has undertaken to improve the working environment at Fratton traincare depot. Colleagues say it has been transformed from being “extremely run down” to a place that is “now a pleasure to work in”. From litter picking, painting and decorating, and making and hanging doors, to fixing pumps, cleaning mess blocks, tiling toilets and bricklaying, John is able to turn his hand to no end of tasks.

BRONZE: Steve Stockwell, Station Property Works Manager, South West Trains

Steve has always supported environmental initiatives across South West Trains’ stations. He has been praised for “considering the environment and its protection in everything he does”. Over the past year, Steve has undertaken a significant amount of work to promote biodiversity, working closely with the RSPB. Steve has built the company’s first “insect hotels” at Hinchley Wood and Effingham stations. Steve has also helped introduce new recycling bins across the South West Trains network and worked with community rail colleagues to ensure station improvements compliment the surrounding environment.


Health Champion

GOLD: Ruth White, Accounts Assistant, Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Company, Coach USA

Ruth White has a real passion for promoting employee health by encouraging her colleagues to exercise and eat better. She continuously sends new, healthy recipes and healthy eating data via email and works face-to-face with colleague to promote health and exercise programmes in the workplace as well as nutritional alternatives. Ruth cooks an extensive menu of healthy food at the company monthly barbecue days, and works hard at promoting healthy eating alternatives to all her colleagues.

SILVER: Dick Pryde, Bus Driver, Stagecoach Yorkshire

In April, Dick Pryde was on his bus at a stop when he noticed a man collapse nearby. Dick called for an ambulance and administered first aid with the help of a female passenger, ensuring that they followed the instructions from the emergency contact on the phone. Dick stayed with the man until paramedics arrived. It transpired that the man was very unwell and close to being in a diabetic coma. Dick’s quick actions prevented what could have been a far more serious situation.

BRONZE: Shaun Harris, Bus Driver, Stagecoach East Midlands

Shaun was in Lincoln bus station talking to colleague Sean McGowan, during a meal break when suddenly Sean McGowan collapsed and stopped breathing.  Shaun Harris quickly telephoned for an ambulance and he was asked to carry out chest compressions on his colleague. Shortly afterwards, the ambulance attended. Crew used a defibrillator on Sean McGowan and managed to resuscitate him. He was then stabilised and taken to Lincoln County Hospital.  Hospital staff and paramedics stated that it had only been Sean and his actions that ensured his colleague had survived the incident. It was confirmed later that Sean had suffered a heart attack..

Innovation Champion

GOLD: Stagecoach bus driver recruitment project team, comprised of Sarah Rennie: Head of HR Services; Ricky Sickelmore: Recruitment & Communications Manager; and Yvonne Wallin, Training Supervisor, West Ham, Stagecoach London; and Lindsay Reid, Senior Group Communications Manager, Stagecoach Group

Stagecoach London’s HR team had an idea to help boost the recruitment of women. It involved identifying a female celebrity and training them to be a bus driver. The underlining message was “If she can do it, so can I”. TV personality Ferne McCann agreed to take part in the campaign and she was paired with Yvonne Wallin, one of Stagecoach London’s six female trainers. After extensive training she passed both the theory and practical elements of the test, gaining her bus licence. The initiative was supported by a communications strategy which generated huge positive publicity in broadcast, online, print and social media and led to a rise in applications from females to Stagecoach London.  

SILVER: Alessandro Finistrella, Security and Crime Prevention Manager, South West Trains

Alessandro has built on a crime hotspot data analysis tool devised by a Cambridge University academic to help identify the best locations to deploy community rail officers on the South West Trains network. This allowed officers to be deployed at these locations at the correct time, resulting in crime reduction of up to 30% in some major northern hub stations.

BRONZE: Technicians team, Stagecoach London

A team of 10 technicians from Stagecoach bus depots across London help develop the business’s maintenance strategy. They came up with the idea of developing a number of 30 second YouTube-style videos on how to repair technical faults leading to breakdowns, which were posted on the company intranet to help fellow engineers. As well as improving fault diagnosis and sharing knowledge, the initiative has helped demonstrate the power of the intranet as a communication tool.


Community Champion

GOLD: Louise Wright, Publicity Officer, Stagecoach East Midlands

Louise lost her daughter, Princess Leah, aged just six on New Year’s Day 2013 after she was diagnosed with Anaplastic Medullablastoma, a malignant primary brain tumor. Louise’s response to this terrible personal tragedy has been nothing short of inspiring. She has worked tirelessly to raise money for the University of Nottingham Children's brain tumour research and to date her huge efforts have generated more than £24,000. Louise created a brand - Skegness Seasiders – which gives the local community ownership and raises money for local charities.  Louise has written seven children’s books about the Seasiders and each one has raised money for different charities.

 SILVER: Dave Leigh, Bus Driver, Stagecoach London

Bow night bus driver Dave Leigh hung up his running shoes after taking part in the London Marathon in April – it was his 25th full marathon as well as numerous half marathons.  Over a period of more than 20 years, through his running Dave has raised over £125,000 for children’s charities.  The final good cause to benefit from Dave’s running was Get Kids Going, a national charity which gives disabled children and young people up to 26 years old the opportunity of participating in sport. 

BRONZE: James Williams, Operations Manager, Stagecoach West

James’ inclusive approach has fostered a real collaborative spirit and sense of community among his team and it has had a major impact on the successes of Stagecoach West during 2015. Over the last year, Stagecoach in Gloucester, Wye & Dean has won several awards for its community involvement: from drivers helping put a stop to the bullying of a child to recognition for community regeneration and customer service. Stagecoach West has also had close involvement with Winstons Wish, the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK.

Customer Service Champion

GOLD: Carlisle bus depot operations, engineering and commercial teams, Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire AND Joy Iggleden, Train Manager, East Midlands Trains

In late 2015, Cumbria was one of the areas worst hit by Storm Desmond, with significant flooding and infrastructure damage across the region. For Stagecoach, it resulted in the company’s Carlisle depot being flooded for a second time in 10 years. Many of the roads and bridges used by Stagecoach services were no longer accessible. But the planning beforehand and the efforts of staff and management during and after the crisis meant lifeline bus services remained on the road for customers in hugely challenging circumstances. There were numerous stories of personal commitment, with many staff working extra hours despite their own homes being amongst those flooded, as well as magnificent efforts to manually update ticket machines and amend services. The tireless efforts of the operations, engineering and commercial teams over many weeks ensured Stagecoach provided the best level of service and information for passengers during one of the most challenging periods for the company, earning huge praise from customers.


Joy is the ultimate professional, leading by example, always ready to help – and doing all of this with a constant smile on her face. In the last year alone, she has been named winner of two internal awards. During one journey, the train she was on came to an abrupt standstill following reports of a suicidal male on the track. Concerned for the welfare of the man, Joy climbed down onto the track with the assistance of the train driver. She managed to get the man to sit on the banks and chatted with him, Joy then persuaded him to get back with her on the train and arranged for professionals to meet with him. Joy is said to be “one of the railway’s heroes” and a “true role model to her peers”.

SILVER: Sammy Torrance, Bus Driver, Stagecoach North Scotland

Sammy is one of the best-known faces of the company in Inverness, admired for his friendly, helpful nature and cheerful personality. His great customer service skills were demonstrated when a major fire broke out in the heart of Inverness, causing severe damage to buildings within the city centre. There was severe disruption to Stagecoach services as a result, with dozens of diversions due to road closures by the emergency services. Sammy took his customer service skills on to the streets in the city centre. He helped passengers find their right stop, advised of any disruption to their service, updated bus stop information and distributed leaflets. Sammy's efforts did not go unnoticed in the Inverness community with personal recognition on various Facebook pages.

BRONZE: Kim Cinavas, Customer Service Assistant, East Midlands Trains

Kim is the epitome of excellent customer service, regularly receiving glowing commendations from her customers. At the recent East Midlands Trains Great Service Awards, Kim received nearly 100 nominations from customers, supported by a raft of nominations from her colleagues.  Kim regularly goes above and beyond for her customers, earning praise for everything from the everyday assistance around things such as luggage to the personal touch, such as reassuring a customer’s nervous stepson who was preparing to travel alone. 


SPECIAL AWARD: Bethany Soards, On Board Customer Service Assistant, Virgin Trains East Coast

Bethany was travelling home from work on a train service operated by another company, when there was a large bang under the train. The guard made announcements stating the train was on fire and that everyone had to move to the front coach. Whilst the train was delayed outside York Station, Beth sprang into action and assisted the guard by reassuring customers, handing out water and delay paperwork, assisting customers with enquiries and keeping them informed. When the train was evacuated, Beth assisted with the safe movement of customers and ensured that she and the guard were the last people off the train.


SPECIAL AWARD: Safety engagement project team, comprising Sarah Rennie, Head of HR Services; Graham Bright, Garage Operations Manager, and David Clark, Assistant Garage Operations Manager, all Stagecoach London.

A new safety engagement initiative has been developed and trialled at Stagecoach London’s Barking garage in partnership with an external provider. The project involves a series of manager safety awareness workshops which use staged scenarios with actors and facilitated discussion to consider not only the consequences of an accident, but also the perceptions of risk and behaviour that can indicate a culture where an accident is waiting to happen. This approach was rolled out to all managers and the innovative initiative has helped reinforce that safety is the responsibility of all.


More than 150 Stagecoach employees have been presented with Champions Awards over the past seven years.