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Sainsbury’s van driver crowned Hero of the Year at 2019 Van Excellence awards

A van driver who saved a motorist trapped in a burning car after a high-speed crash in Huddersfield has been recognised with a national award at FTA’s 2019 Van Excellence Honours.

Winners of the 2019 Van Excellence Honours

One of 13 drivers to be recognised at a special awards lunch held yesterday (12 November 2019), Sainsbury’s delivery driver Kevin Marriott was given the Hero of the Year title after helping rescue a driver who’d crashed into a lamp post in Fenay Bridge, West Yorkshire, and was left trapped in a burning vehicle. Marriott used his fire extinguisher from his cab to hold back the flames; when it ran out, he raced to a nearby pub, grabbed more extinguishers, and continued to fight the flames until firefighters arrived. On arrival, firefighters cut the motorist out of the vehicle and Marriott was praised for his brave actions.

Kevin Green, director of marketing & communications at FTA, which administers the Van Excellence scheme, said: “While van drivers play a vital role in our society, too often their contributions are undervalued; Mr Marriott is a shining example of how they can be some of the most hard-working, dedicated and selfless people in the UK.”

Yesterday’s awards, held at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham, also celebrated other businesses and individuals leading the way in excellence and setting a high standard for others to follow.

Full list of 2019 Van Excellence Honours winners:

Van Excellence Champion of the Year

  • Winner: Rachel Bullen, Fleet Operations Manager, Cadent Gas

Putting Drivers First, sponsored by Brigade Electronics

  • Winner: Auto Electrical Services (AES)
  • Highly commended: McGinley Support Services

Using Technology for Good, sponsored by Hertz

  • Winner: Cadent Gas
  • Highly commended: Auto Electrical Services (AES)

Keeping your Show on the Road, sponsored by The AA

  • Winner: Murphy Plant Limited
  • Highly Commended: Reflex Vehicle Hire

Making a Difference, sponsored by Lex Autolease

  • Winner: Reflex Vehicle Hire

Helping the Community, sponsored by Quartix

  • Winner: McGinley Support Services
  • Highly Commended: Reflex Vehicle Hire

Winning at Wellbeing, sponsored by Bott

  • Winner: Auto Electrical Services (AES)

Hero of the Year, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans

  • Winner: Kevin Marriott, Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd
  • Highly Commended: Andrew Robbins, BT Fleet


FTA’s Kevin Green added: “As the vans market continues to grow rapidly – there are now more than 4.3 million of them on Britain’s roads – it is important we recognise the van drivers and operators consistently leading the way in excellence.

“All the winners and highly commended entrants have proven they truly are the best of the best in their respective fields; I would like to extend my congratulations to them all.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.

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