12 July 2020
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2017 Winners

Chairman’s Awards Winners 2017

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017


Caroline Britton won the CEO’s Award for Bravery

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

York postie Caroline Britton has won the Chief Executive’s Award for Bravery 2017.

The Birch Park delivery office colleague spotted a suicidal woman wading out towards a treacherous stretch of deep water in the River Ouse while out for an evening dog walk.

After calling the emergency services Caroline plunged into the chest-high water, hugged the woman then helped her out of the river. Showing courage coupled with a spirit of selfless determination, Caroline’s actions were thought to embody the best of the best of the Royal Mail ethos. When asked by an ambulance crew member whether she was cold Caroline replied: ‘Me? I’m a postie!’

‘It's absolutely amazing to have won,' said Caroline. 'I just did something that anyone would do, following my natural instinct when someone is in trouble and helping them. I would do it again tomorrow, and more willingly than going up on stage here! It was more nerve-racking than pulling a woman from a river.’

Caroline faced stiff competition with the standard of entries judged to be particularly high this year.

CEO Moya Greene said: ‘You are all heroes, every single one of you, and you are the reason we are so very well received by everyone in the country. The sheer volume and quality of nominations that we get for this award is amazing. People do such selfless things.’


Jack Dunseith won the Rising Star award

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Jack Dunseith, an apprentice at Northern Ireland mail centre in Newtonabbey, has won this year’s Rising Star award for his commitment to developing his skills as a vehicle technician. 

Jack always maintains and services vehicles to a very high standard and his work on a continuous improvement project between Royal Mail Fleet and Operations has been applauded.

Jack competed against 1,200 technicians from the likes of BMW and Mazda to become the first Royal Mail colleague to land Babcock College’s Technician of the Year award.

‘I love getting up to go to work every day and that makes whatever I do during the day so much easier,’ said Jack.  

‘All of the boys in the workshop put in loads of effort while I was coming up through the ranks. I’m glad to be part of such a great team.’


Herminder Gill won the Postie of the Year award

Herminder Gill

The coveted Postie of the Year title was won by Birmingham mail centre’s Herminder Gill at this year’s Chairman’s Awards for Excellence.

The award recognises the successes of our frontline people in their roles as postmen or women, whether that involves their contribution to the local community or their dedication to the job.

Herminder, a much-loved and respected postie, topped the list of hundreds of nominees for the category. He was recognised for his steadfast support in providing a vital and sensitive link between the team at Birmingham mail centre and the families of two colleagues suffering from motor neurone disease and cancer.

Not only did Herminder make countless visits to his colleagues and their families, he also helped raise thousands of pounds for the hospice where they were being cared for.

'I was very surprised when they read my name out,’ said Herminder. ‘I'm happy to receive this in recognition of two colleagues, one of whom died from stomach cancer while the other is in a hospice. I have seen them through every day of their illness.

'Their whole lives were at Royal Mail, they both worked very hard, so this is for them.’


Gaynor Nevins won the Team Leader of the Year award

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Described as a ‘leader by example’, Gaynor’s daily huddles, open communication with colleagues and talent for meeting tough conversations head on with respect and fairness, have scooped her the Team Leader of the Year award.

‘Salford was officially the worst-performing site in the country, but we have gone up to 1,570 out of about 2,500,’ said Gaynor.

‘We will share this award because we have all worked together. I am in love with my colleagues in Salford. They are just so good.’

Salford delivery office has certainly experienced a turnaround since Gaynor took charge as DOM. Her success in reinvigorating the underperforming site, which had low colleague engagement, has come from involving every single person on site in the improvements.

Gaynor’s efforts above and beyond the call of duty didn’t pass unnoticed - from baking biscuits and using the proceeds from cake sales to turn a scruffy yard into a garden area that colleagues tend together to turning up at work on Christmas Day to cook breakfast for her colleagues working the festive shift.

‘I’m close to retirement age but I’m staying as long as I feel good about work, and I feel great at the moment,’ she said.


Glasgow mail centre Women’s Network won Team of the Year

 Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Glasgow mail centre Women’s Network has been awarded Team of the Year at this year’s Chairman’s Awards for Excellence.

The team are spread across a range of different roles but they share a common goal: to encourage and support a greater gender balance across the unit.

Team member, Alison Wotherspoon, said: ‘There’s about 12 of us who try to promote confidence in other women and make sure everyone has the best development they can get.

‘We’ve worked really hard over the last two years to get where we are, and we’re so excited about winning.’

To help engage female colleagues and help them grow into management or trade union roles, they’ve championed women’s networks and networking events.

This presence has had a positive impact – in June 2015, women made up just over 4% of the site’s managerial population. Today, they account for more than 12%. 


Shaun Nowak won the Community Champion of the Year award

Shaun Nowak

Driver Shaun Nowak from Sheffield mail centre, won the Community Champion of the Year award at this year’s Chairman’s Awards for Excellence.

This award celebrates the tremendous generosity that many of our people show by passionately volunteering their time and expertise on charitable projects outside of work.

Champion charity fundraiser Shaun has spent the last 15 years doing incredible work across his community, raising more than £60,000 via his own registered charity for disabled children and their families in the past two years alone.

His latest project 'First Class Retreats' saw Shaun refurbish a caravan at a holiday park in Yorkshire to provide free holidays for families with sick or disabled children. Since August, 14 families have already enjoyed a free break there – with glowing praise for the site and all that Shaun has done for them, including raising around £6,000 each year for the caravan’s upkeep.

Shaun said: ‘I share my grandad’s philosophy which was “I help people out because I'm able to.”

‘I know how hard it is to go on holiday with my three able-bodied children, let alone what it must be like with disabled children, so I set up a caravan for people to use free of charge. I get some lovely cards and letters of thanks, but this award is nice too.’


Linda Anderson won the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Champion award

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Work area manager Linda Anderson’s win was for her contribution to the reform of Royal Mail’s maternity leave process. As a new mum returning to the workplace, Linda found a lack of support and guidance.

Linda carried out a survey of other Royal Mail colleagues returning from maternity leave. The outcome was a phased return programme with welcome back packs and a new mothers’ risk assessment.

Linda said: ‘My team asked if I thought I would win and I said: “No, there’ll be people there who have done more than me,” so it was a surprise.

‘Hopefully what I have done has helped ease the transition between being on maternity leave and coming back as a working mum.’

Safety, Health and Wellbeing winner Linda is part of the Glasgow mail centre Women’s Network, which is making quite a name for itself tackling and solving issues that face women in the workplace.

‘There were about nine or 10 of us who were nominated from Glasgow, so we all came down on the same flight. It was a great day out,’ said Linda.  


Christine Walker won the Customer Experience Handle with Care award 

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Christine Walker from Dearne contract centre, has won this year’s Customer Experience Handle with Care award.

She received the award for going out of her way to ensure that she does everything she can for the customer by compassionately putting herself in their shoes. Christine is described as ‘relentless in her aim to positively transform every customer’s experience of Royal Mail.’

‘I take pride in everything I do, as do all of my colleagues on my team. It really feels good to help people,’ said Christine.

‘I was absolutely amazed to win, but really pleased.’


The elections team (Doxford) won the Customer Experience Service Excellence award 

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

The elections team from Doxford has won the Customer Experience Service Excellence Award at this year’s Chairman’s Awards for Excellence.

The team has been awarded for its commitment to deliver under huge pressure during the snap general election – completing what is usually five months of intense work with more months of planning, in less than two months.

Steve Rich, door-to-door improvement manager (formerly elections manager) said: ‘It was an extraordinary campaign and it needed an extraordinary effort to pull it off.

‘It was unprecedented and I’m so proud of the team because we managed to hit every milestone. I think it was a well-deserved win. It has made them feel really valued.’ 


Neil Burnikell won the Customer Experience: Inspirational Colleague award

Neil Burnikell

Data analysis manager Neil Burnikell from Doxford contact centre won the Customer Experience: Inspirational Colleague award at this year’s Chairman’s Awards for Excellence.

The Customer Experience awards recognise individuals who demonstrate our business values on a day-to-day basis and inspire colleagues across customer experience to live by these values.

The Inspirational Colleague award honours those who inspire, motivate and support their colleagues - making work a better place and being the best they can be for our business, our people and our customers.

A dedicated, honest, enthusiastic and professional team leader in the Account (business) customer experience team, Neil sensitively communicates with the CWU and leads a team of advisors who deal with enquiries from business customers. Neil has consistently shown a positive and flexible approach and thrives under pressure.

‘A member of my team's daughter had a terminal heart condition and very sadly passed away last October,’ said Neil. ‘I supported him through that time and back into work.

‘She is the person I want to dedicate this award to, because she inspired me to want to inspire others to do great things.’


Othneil Linton won the LVG Driver of the Year award

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Othneil Linton, a large goods vehicle driver from Greenford vehicle operating centre, was awarded the LGV Driver of the Year award, in recognition of his experience and dedication to keep Royal Mail moving.

He has been recognised for going above and beyond the call of duty to guide other drivers at different Royal Mail and Parcelforce depots, taking pride in his vehicle and keeping it clean inside and out at all times. He also provided support in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster. 

Othneil said: ‘I was surprised to win as all of the other nominees do an outstanding job. I just push myself to do the job to the best of my ability.

‘Getting the award has been the icing on the cake.’


Steven Doyle won the MGV Driver of the Year award

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Steven Doyle from Gloucester North delivery office was crowned as the MGV Driver of the Year for 2017.

In a new category introduced for this year’s awards, MGV driver Steven has been a Royal Mail success story.

He was reluctant to embrace telemetry at first, but soon got to grips with it, moving from the bottom office report to a top performer. He is now so well respected that he is often asked to share his knowledge with other drivers and readily seeks opportunities to improve the operation and save money.

Steven has built up a good relationship with his customers on his collection and will always go the extra mile to ensure they have the equipment they require.

As Steven was on holiday at the time of the ceremony on 26 September, his award was collected on his behalf by National Distribution director Wayne Jay.

Wayne said: ‘It's a fantastic achievement for Steven. He would have loved to have been here, so I will try and recreate what we have done here today as best I can with him.’


George Reynolds won the Fleet Technician of the Year award

George Reynolds

Shift supervisor George Reynolds from Oxford Fleet & Maintenance Services won the Fleet Technician of the Year award at this year’s Chairman’s Awards for Excellence.

This award celebrates engineering excellence by fleet technicians who bring exceptional skills to Royal Mail. Our talented Fleet colleagues keep our teams on the move, demonstrating their expertise to help keep the wheels of our business turning.

George joined Royal Mail as an apprentice, becoming fully qualified in 2012. Due to long-term sick absence, George became a cover shift supervisor and then a shift supervisor, quickly winning the support of colleagues to significantly improve communication with customers and make a real difference to the workplace.

‘I didn't think I would win, but it's a brilliant feeling,’ said George. ‘I just go to work and do my job, so it's nice for that to be recognised.

‘It has been great to meet some of the other nominees and chat to them. This place is full of great people.’


Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre won the World Class Mail category

Chairman's Awards for Excellence 2017

Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre (HWDC) is the winner of the World Class Mail Continuous Improvement award, which is selected using performance data.

The award recognises the unit that has made the most progress in key areas such as safety, customer service, productivity, quality and cost efficiencies through their continuous improvement activity.

HWDC became the first Royal Mail Group plant to achieve World Class Mail Gold status in 2017.

Other contenders for the World Class Mail award included Exeter mail centre, Scottish Distribution Centre, Glasgow mail centre and South West regional distribution centre.

Mike Sibley, Head of International Processing, said: ‘To be rewarded by the company at the highest level is something very special, not just for me but for all of our 1,500 people who have worked so hard. It is quite remarkable what they have achieved.

‘The event was very professionally run and the atmosphere was excellent. All of the nominees had done fantastic things and it was wonderful to be recognised among those elite few.’