Community transport volunteers and staff honoured at awards ceremony

Community Transport Award winners (Pic credit: Lucy Duval)

Posted on: 15 June 2018

Dedicated community transport volunteers and staff members received prestigious awards at a ceremony at County Hall last night (Thursday 14 June).

The annual Community Transport Awards, organised by Devon County Council and sponsored by local printers Pollards, recognises outstanding contributions to Devon’s community transport providers.

Cllr Caroline Chugg and Simon Edwards (Pic credit: Lucy Duval)

Ten accolades were presented, with the top award for Community Transport Volunteer of the Year going to Simon Edwards, in recognition of his 11 years as a volunteer minibus driver for the Exe Valley Market Bus.

Simon was nominated for being a popular driver with the passengers. Attendees at the award ceremony heard that, “nothing is ever too much trouble for Simon in helping to make their journeys a pleasure. He is greatly respected by all fellow drivers, passengers and committee members.”

Simon said: “Nobody is more surprised than I am, but this award is not only for me, it’s all about the team. It’s for the bus and everyone involved in it. The vast majority from the more remote villages aren’t drivers, they don’t have access to services or shops and when you see them bringing their shopping back on the bus it makes you realise how important what we do is. Most of the people on the bus are regulars, they know each other and enjoy chatting away. It’s almost a family thing really and that makes it all worthwhile.”

Simon was also one of three people to receive volunteer minibus driver awards. Other winners were Paul Newman from Tavistock Area Support Services, and Bob Rees of East Teignbridge Community Transport Association

Three awards for Volunteer Car Drivers were presented to Des Bluett, from Tavistock Area Support Services, Maurice Kibble, from Okehampton & District Community Transport Group, and Alan Read, from East Teignbridge Community Transport Association.

Award winners in the Volunteer Transport Enabler category were Helen Dray, Administrator at the Lustleigh Association of Drivers, David Netherway, Chairman of Go North Devon Ltd, and Maggie Sheppard, Administrator and Vice Chair of Tiverton & District Community Transport Association.

The Community Transport Employee of the Year was presented to Paul Cooper, of East Teignbridge Community Transport Association. Paul drives primary children to school before starting his daily community transport duties and also delivers and collects mobility scooters.

Councillor Caroline Chugg

Devon County Council Chair, Councillor Caroline Chugg, presented the awards. She said: “All of the award winners have such incredible stories of dedication. These awards are very well deserved for their outstanding efforts which each and every one of them have put in to these vital organisations. My admiration goes out to them, as they have all shown such long term commitment. Congratulations to the winners and our thanks also go to everyone involved with community transport in Devon.”

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for community transport, said: “Community transport relies on the commitment of its staff and volunteers and the award winners are just a few of the hundreds of people who make community transport in Devon such a valuable lifeline to so many people.”

The ten award winners were selected from more than 50 nominations from across the county.

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