Heart of Gold Awards 2020

2020 hasn't been the easiest year so far with the Covid-19 crisis affecting us all in some way. However, it has also brought out the best in people and we have seen some amazing acts of kindness which we would like to celebrate and honour.

We have been looking for somebody in the Rail Industry who has a genuine heart of gold - somebody who has gone the extra mile, shown amazing kindness, made a difference and shone like a star?
Your nominations have been flooding in and we have loved them all - thank you.

So many inspiring people and heart-warming stories - well done to all those mentioned in the list below and thank you for your kindness.

However, we've had to narrow it down and make some very tough decisions but we are delighted to announce our shortlist of 5 below - congratulations to you all! 


Donna Taylor, Station Assistant, Merseyrail

Donna only joined the railway in 2018 but has made a huge impact in a short space of time with her energy and compassion – she is known as ‘Mrs Moorfields’ or ‘mum of Moorfields station.’

She always thinks of others and puts everyone first and that is how she saved the life of a young man a few weeks ago who was struggling with mental health issues during this difficult time. It was late one night when he threatened to jump in front of a train. Donna took the time to listen and talk and managed to get him away from the was the platform edge, still taking care of him until his girlfriend arrived.  

Donna’s colleagues are truly inspired by her – it’s not the first time she has stopped somebody from taking their lives on the railway – she says she is just doing her job but we know how truly special she is!


Ezekiel Awoyomi, Police Inspector, British Transport Police (BTP)

Every Saturday evening, and throughout the Covid-19 crisis, Ezekiel has been driving around the Chatham and Rochester communities offering hot food, sandwiches, fruit, drinks and warm clothes to those in need. He does this at his own expense and in his own time with only a few other families for support.

BTP are extremely proud of him and how he cares for and looks after his community – going above and beyond for others. After a recent social post from his Chief Superintendent highlighting his kindness, Ezekiel received thousands of likes and virtual praise for his admirable work!


Glyn Smith, Train Driver, Arriva Rail London

It was only a few weeks ago when Glyn was driving his train in West London that he noticed a small child with his scooter walking on the tracks. It’s every driver’s nightmare, but thanks to Glyn’s calm and swift reaction he stopped the train in enough time and ensured the lines were blocked to other train movements.

He then took the scared little boy, who was only 4 years old, in his cab to the nearest station where the police met him and returned the child safely back to his parents.

As if the world does not feel dangerous and scary enough at this time – we are truly grateful to Glyn for being such a hero!


Katie Smith, Customer Service Assistant, Avanti West Coast

Katie set up an initiative at Carlisle Train Station for all staff to donate items such as toiletries, food parcels, board games and anything else that would be useful, help people out and put a smile on their faces during the Covid-19 crisis.

These thoughtful packages helped lift the spirits of the residents of local care homes in and around Carlisle who were unable to see their families due to lockdown restrictions. Supported by her Manager, Katie personally delivered the packages in her work uniform to show the local community how important they are to the railway staff.

Her colleagues are extremely proud of Katie and all she does for her community - she even got a mention in the local online news!


Matthew Ullman, Empty Operations, Pentalver (G&W UK/Europe)

Matthew has worked within his local community of Felixstowe to help bring essential items to the elderly, frail and vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak. He has helped set up groups on social media to connect people who are able to assist those less mobile who need items picking up and bringing to them. He has also donated many items to those who have less, including food, clothing and cleaning products.

His 3D printing hobby has come in really useful making splash shields for key workers to provide extra protection for themselves and others. Matthew has definitely gone the extra mile for his industry and community!


Now the voting begins -  through to Thursday 18th June - good luck everybody! You can vote for your Heart of Gold winner by:

• Liking their shortlist post on twitter, facebook or LinkedIn (to be posted Monday 8th June)

• Emailing their name to events@railwaybenefitfund.org.uk

• Texting 'VOTE followed by their name' to 07525 859386
• Submit the form below

Winners to be announced by our celebrity President, Pete Waterman, on Friday 19th June - watch this space for further details!

Special mentions to some inspiring nominations that really made an impression on us - thank you all - keep being amazing!

  • Amanda Bolton, Train Manager, Avanti West Coast
  • Andrew Brade, Rail Engineer, Network Rail
  • Faith Coe, Driver Train Crew Manager West, Greater Anglia
  • Jannette Hacini, On Board Caterer, Avanti West Coast
  • Jenny Lunt, Customer Service Assistant, Avanti West Coast
  • Jimmy Murphy, Station Retailer, Merseyrail
  • Laura Percival, Payroll & Office Coordinator, Freightliner
  • Mandey Campling, On Board Host, Greater Anglia
  • Marie Louise Fox, Ticket Examiner, Scotrail
  • Matthew Dawson, Train Manager, EMR
  • Nicola Hague, Regional Customer Proposition Partner, Avanti West Coast 
  • Terry Garner, Traffic Clerk, Freightliner 
  • Tracey Upton, Employee Experience Manager, Merseyrail
  • Vicky Espejo Bascon, Station First Aider, Network Rail


Heart of Gold Vote