5 July 2020
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2018 Winners

Chairman’s Awards Winners 2018
Chairman's Awards for Excellence

Kelt Jones won the CEO’s Award for Bravery

 Kelt Jones

Kelt Jones is the 2018 winner of the Chief Executive’s Award for Bravery 2018.

The Welsh postman, based at Llanelli delivery office, was nominated and shortlisted for an award after showing outstanding courage by tackling a house fire as part of a fearless attempt to save the occupant.

Kelt was out on his delivery round when he came across a house with smoke billowing from its windows. After learning that someone was in the rear bedroom he entered the property, turned off the gas and climbed the stairs.

Despite Kelt’s valiant efforts, the tenant sadly passed away from smoke inhalation.

Kelt, who received his award from Chairman Les Owen, said: ‘I think it is just something that everybody might do. It was a tough situation to be in but it is nice to be appreciated for something you have done beyond your normal day of work.’

Chairman Les Owen said: ‘These awards are very special - I know lots and lots of people in Royal Mail who do great things and we can’t have all of them here - but these have all come from nominations from your peers, so they are very special.’

Kate Allen won the Team Leader of the Year award

Kate Allen

Liverpool based delivery office manager, Kate Allen, walked away with the title of Team Leader of the Year.

The judges commended Kate’s calm and positive outlook and her success in creating a respectful and understanding working environment for colleagues to thrive in.   

Kate, who received her award from Sue Whalley, CEO, Post & Parcels UK, said: ‘I think I was nominated because I’ve gone into the office and just tried to create a positive, happy environment, a place where people want to come to work to every day.

‘I don’t think anyone should not want to come into work – it should be a positive place, and you get more out of people when it’s like that.

‘The sickness levels reduce, people are happier, it’s a nicer atmosphere.’

Kate says that she wants to ‘change some of the stereotypes that exist at the moment in delivery.’ And claims that her recipe for success is a simple one.

‘All I’ve done really is listen to my staff and action their ideas. To be nominated by them is the biggest achievement for me because this was from them – they’ve nominated me for this. And then when you hear what they’ve said in the nominations, it’s the little things that I know I do but I don’t really think about, but they obviously see it as a big thing.’

Brian Milner won the Postie of the Year award

Brian Milner

Brian Milner of Chester-le-Street delivery office, swept up with the coveted Postie of the Year title.

Postman Brian took on responsibility for tracked quality of service at his unit and also runs Gateway Wheelers, a charity which helps disabled people to become mobile.

He has been awarded the British Empire medal for services to charity.

When asked about winning the Postie of the Year, Brian said: ‘It feels absolutely fantastic. After winning the BEM for services to charity, this one feels particularly special to me because it’s what I do at work, and there’s a lot of postmen in the land so it’s nice to be recognised.’

Chairman, Les Owen, said in his speech at the Chairman’s Awards: ‘They are very special awards for great work by a lot of great people. Of course a lot of businesses say: “it is all about the people,” but in our case it really is.

‘We deliver letters, parcels, we get out at all hours of the day and night in all sorts of weather, so it is not a trite comment in the case of Royal Mail.’

Lee Bannerman won the Rising Star award

Lee Bannerman

Lee Bannerman, of Glasgow delivery office, was hailed as 2018’s Rising Star at the Chairman’s Awards for Excellence.

The judges praised Lee’s willingness to give anything a go, his consistency in providing help above and beyond what is expected of him and his hard work and commitment.

Lee said: ‘I was nominated for my role in diversity, along with my colleagues and OPGs, and also for the journey that we’ve had with One Plan. We were the first self-led unit in the UK to pass [One Plan], and the first unit in the whole of the north region to pass.’

‘I was able to do this because the work force are engaged. They know [One Plan is] an improvement, and they want to do well. Bringing them on that journey, they were a bit sceptical at first, but they’ve seen the rewards and they’ve reaped the benefits.’

On winning the award, which was won last year by vehicle technician, Jack Dunseith, Lee said:

‘It’s not sunk in just yet, but I’m very proud and I’m glad my wife’s with me as well.’

The Escalated Customer Resolution Team won Team of the Year


Plymouth’s Escalated Customer Resolution Team was crowned Royal Mail’s ‘Team of the Year.’

Dealing with customer complaints can be a tough job, but the judges praised the ECRT’s exceptional sensitivity, empathy and careful call handling.  

The team, which shares its knowledge across Royal Mail, helps others to develop call-handling techniques and empathy for our customers.

When two autographed photos of Formula One drivers Daniel Ricardo and Max Verstappen arrived damaged, the team arranged for the pics to be reproduced and re-signed.

Their attention to great service also ensured the swift delivery of live butterflies for release at the memorial service of a customer’s son and the delivery of an urgent passport a customer needed to visit her terminally ill mother.

Team leader, Pauline Gray, says: 'We were delighted to be shortlisted and are overjoyed to have won this award. Working in this team is an opportunity to work with colleagues across the business.

'We’re really proud of what we do and this award is recognition not just of our work but of a greater, collective team effort across customer experience and the Royal Mail Group.'

Brian Phillips won the Community Champion of the Year award and Tim Hyde was highly commended

Tim Hyde

The Community Champion of the Year award was won by postman, Brian Phillips, from Newport West delivery office.

Brian runs a youth centre and has been nominated and shortlisted for a Pride of Britain award by a group of young people he helped.

Brian was unable to attend the ceremony and his award was picked up by his colleague, Louise Matthews.

Tim Hyde (pictured) who was nominated for the Community Champion in 2017 as well as this year, received a ‘highly commended’ award for his contributions to the community.

A seasoned fundraiser, volunteer swimming teacher and staunch supporter of the Ops fundraising challenge, Tim said: ‘It’s such a total shock. It’s quite humbling. I feel very proud to have received it.’

Steve Keeley won the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Champion award

Steve Keeley

Doxford Contact Centre’s Steve Keeley is Royal Mail’s new Safety, Health and Wellbeing Champion.

Steve, a Royal Mail employee of more than two decades standing, is Doxford’s CWU and site health and safety rep.

He was singled out for going above and beyond and not only showing a tremendous dedication to health and safety, but also putting it centre stage in everything he does for the business.

His encyclopaedic knowledge of health and safety policies and his willingness to give advice were praised by the judges.

Steve said: ‘I have won the Health and Safety and Wellbeing award and – well I am shocked to be honest, I wasn’t expecting that at all!

‘I think it is all about collaboration and working with managers - working with everybody really - and getting people involved.

‘Health and safety is a boring thing for a lot of people, but making it not boring is the main thing.

‘We have got some excellent people at Royal Mail, and there are some really worthy award winners out there. It is good to recognise people, it really is.’

Pauline Williams won the Customer Experience: Handle with Care award 

Pauline Williams

A natural empathy for her customers helped Bangor-based Pauline Williams to win the Customer Experience: Handle with Care award.

The judges felt that Pauline’s dedication to customer satisfaction embodied our values to Be Positive, Be Brilliant, Be Part of It – and then some.

Pauline said: ‘I was nominated for the way I handle my customers. I treat people the way I’d want to be treated, so if you treat everyone with the respect they deserve you get far more out of your customers.

‘It does feel amazing to win, I really wasn’t expecting it. But at the end of the day it’s a team effort, Bangor is a little team, there aren’t many of us, so it is a really big team effort and we all work really well together.

‘The event is beautiful, it’s lovely. I’ve now taken redundancy, so this is my last year. After 17 years, I’m going out on a high!’

Patricia Brigham won the Customer Experience: Service Excellence award 

Patricia Brigham

Stoke Contact Centre’s Patricia Brigham is 2018’s winner of the Customer Experience: Service Excellence award.              

As an advanced customer advisor in the International team at Stoke Contact Centre, Pat’s impressive knowledge of International products and services – indispensable when dealing with difficult enquiries and complaints – impressed the judges.

Pat said: ‘I’m feeling… overwhelmed, proud, speechless. I wasn’t expecting this at all, it was a total surprise. Obviously I knew I was nominated, but I didn’t think I’d win.

‘Being nominated by your peers as well is really something, because without them, I couldn’t do it. No one can do customer service on their own, you need support from your colleagues, the management, everyone around you. Even the customers to a certain extent.

‘They said I was nominated for my knowledge and my expertise, and how I deal with customers and put customers first. I think [this award] will inspire me to carry on. Because sometimes when you’ve had a bad day, it’s nice to know you’ve been recognised.’

Hazel Hughes won the Customer Experience: Inspirational Colleague award

Hazel Hughes

Head of Bangor and Glasgow contact centres, Hazel Hughes is Customer Experience’s Inspirational Colleague for 2018.

Decribed as an ‘amazing lady,’ Hughes was praised by judges for her caring approach, understanding advice and helping hand, which she has extended to her colleagues to assist with personal and workplace issues alike. 

Hazel said: ‘I was nominated for supporting individual team members and for my team as a whole as well. I wasn’t expecting it, definitely not. It was a surprise, a very nice surprise! There were some strong candidates in the group, some people that I work with, I know their strengths, so it was a shock to win.

‘I think it’s nice to be recognised for my managerial style, how I support my team, and I’ll just carry on doing the same thing I’m doing. My advice to anyone is always treat your colleagues how you’d want to be treated yourself.’

Stuart Gillgrass won the HGV Driver of the Year award

Paul Jameson

A driver who has worked for Royal Mail for more than 40 years, in May, Stuart was heading towards the National Distribution Centre on the M6 when he noticed a unit and trailer driving erratically and swerving across all three lanes in front of him.

Thinking quickly, Stuart used his Royal Mail vehicle to straddle the middle and offside lanes to stop traffic overtaking and colliding with the vehicle, whilst another vehicle did the same in the other lanes.

Brave Stuart parked up when the truck finally came to a stop on the hard shoulder and helped the driver, who was suffering a diabetic episode, until the emergency services arrived.

Stuart was unable to attend the event, so Paul Jameson, who nominated him for the award, was on hand to pick up the award for him. Logistics Director, Euan McMurdo, praised Stuart’s bravery.

Trevor Wheat won the MGV Driver of the Year award

Trevor Wheat

Nottingham-based Trevor Wheat picked up the MGV Driver of the Year award.

An MGV driver at Nottingham Distribution, Trevor is also the advanced driver coach for the site. With nearly four decades of service at Royal Mail, his considerable knowledge was praised by the judges. They were also impressed by his above and beyond involvement in a number of recent key projects including the Fuel Island works at Nottingham mail centre and his support during agency training at Atherstone VOC at Christmas.

Trevor said: ‘It feels really good to be recognised for what I do – I try do the best I can – every day is a different challenge and I am really enjoying it.

‘I think the Chairman’s Awards are really good, and I think we should recognise the staff and the people who are behind what happens and how things happen in Royal Mail. I think these awards are really important to people.’

Murdo Johnson won the Fleet Technician of the Year award

Patrick McFadden

Stornoway based workshop supervisor, Murdo Johnson, was the winner of the Fleet Technician of the Year award.

Murdo, who runs a remote operation based in the Western Isles of Scotland, oversees three further workshops at Lochboisdale, Portree and Lairg.

Murdo’s tremendous dedication to keeping the Royal Mail fleet on the road, even in the most challenging of conditions in one of the UK’s remotest spots, impressed the judges.

They were also taken with his energy in running a busy workshop that formed an integral part of the community, and provided the same great service that Royal Mail enjoys more widely to Western Isles residents.

Murdo was not at the ceremony in London, but his award was picked up on his behalf by his colleague, Patrick McFadden.

The Night Shift Fundraising Team won the International Team of the Year award

 Nightshift fundraising team

The Night Shift Fundraising Team was named as the International Team of the Year – the first of two new awards for 2018.

The team were recognised for putting their heart and souls into raising money for charity – from the Ops Fundraising Challenge, to Sebastian’s Action Trust, for whom they have raised more than £4,000.

Denis Lane of the Night Shift Fundraising Team said: ‘To be here tonight, first of all, totally unexpected, it was a surprise to us. We have a tremendous office. The thing about it is that when we talk about HWDC, when it comes to charities, we are very generous. From earlies, lates and nights, the HWDC is really good. We’ve got a reputation now!’

Leon Harding won the International Colleague of the Year award

Leon Harding

Engineer, Leon Harding, became Royal Mail’s International Colleague of the Year – the second of two new awards for 2018.  

Leon was praised for offering solutions outside of the box and his vast knowledge, which has made him the go-to person when it comes to tackling some of the complex projects at HWDC.

The judges liked his commitment to innovation by working out ways to use existing technology and equipment for new concepts - such as scanning customers’ mail to offering an improved billing process.  

Leon said: ‘I feel amazing, lucky, honoured. I’m feeling like I’m the luckiest guy in the company! I couldn’t believe this.

‘It’s all just down to Mike Sibley, Richard Snowden, Rico Back for trusting the engineers in-house to be able to create a new factory, and I feel honoured to be part of it all.

‘I’d like to thank my colleagues and peers, Mike Sibley for his brilliant belief in me, Richard and Rico, thank you for this opportunity.’