The FTA’s Van Excellence scheme has named its Drivers of the Year after 14 finalists competed for the top accolades.
This year’s event saw Chris Shenton of Asda and Alex Tilley of Moy Park named the Van Excellence Driver of the Year and Young Driver of the Year 2019 respectively, following a rigorous assessment day at Bott Ltd’s facility in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire.
Participants were tested on all areas of their roles, including legislation, driving skills, risk assessment, and vehicle defect identification, with Shenton and Tilley rewarded for their exceptional technical skills, diligence, dedication, and compliance knowledge.
“I’m thrilled to be named as the best van driver in the UK,” commented Shenton. “I love my role as a driver, and I have always taken it very seriously; to be recognised for my dedication, hard work, and constant thirst for improvement over the years is overwhelming. I would like to thank my fellow drivers at Asda whose own brilliance pushes me to be the best I can. I would also like to thank Van Excellence for providing me with this opportunity to showcase everything I have learnt throughout my driving career.”
“I’m so pleased I get to drive a van as part of my career as a joiner; I love the variety, autonomy, challenge, and opportunity it brings,” added Alex Tilley. “To be named as the best young van driver in the UK is an overwhelming feeling and I never expected to achieve such an accolade so early in my career. I would like to thank my colleagues at Moy Park for helping me become the driver I am today.”
Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water secured second place as the Driver of the Year while third place was presented to Luke Howarth of Alliance Healthcare.
Additional awards were presented to winners of particular skills tests:
- Economical driving, sponsored by Quartix: Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water
- Driving style, sponsored by Hertz: Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water
- Legislation test, sponsored by Bott Ltd: Lee Magri of Kelly Fleet Services
- Pre-use defect check, sponsored by Lex Autolease: Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water
- Manoeuvring, sponsored by Brigade Electronics: Lee McCafferty of Greencore
- Risk assessment, sponsored by McCarron Coates: Garry Spiller of Asda
Commenting on the awards, Mark Cartwright, head of vans at FTA, said: “The aim of the Van Excellence scheme is to raise compliance levels across the industry, and each of today’s finalists has shown what can be achieved with determination and hard work. The very best van operators must be rewarded for their professionalism and high standards. We are honoured to have this platform to recognise and reward these talented individuals – they should all be very proud of their achievements.”