Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “I would like to congratulate Simon, Dave, Gareth, Chris, Phil, Brian and Nasir for their incredible achievement of being recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Their hard work and dedication is an example to us all of the difference we can make at our workplaces and in our communities, and I am proud to call them my colleagues.
“This year’s list included honours to recognise contributions in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic on the frontline and in local communities. I am pleased but not at all surprised to see the outstanding efforts of rail staff acknowledged in this way.”
- Simon Constable, MBE – for volunteering to lead and coordinate distribution of PPE and supplies across Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Dave Williams, MBE – for his volunteer work at the Simon Community homelessness charity during the pandemic, keeping them supplied with food, warm clothing and other essentials.
- Gareth Mallion, MBE – for volunteering to run the logistics at the Manchester Nightingale hospital, coordinating and leading teams from various sectors to make sure the hospital was set up smoothly.
- Chris Conway, MBE – for continuing his volunteer work in Blackpool throughout the pandemic, delivering up to 1,200 meals a week to the homeless, vulnerable and elderly while his usual soup kitchen had to close due to social distancing.
- Phil Graham, MBE – for coming out of retirement to help train reserve signallers who could cover in the event of staff shortages, helping to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of the railway.
- Brian Paynter, MBE – for his dedication to safety on the railway, for example by ensuring a defibrillator is available on every work site and developing training for first responders to an accident.
- Nasir Khan, MBE – for his commitment to improving diversity in the rail industry – increasing the number of multi-faith rooms for Network Rail employees and co-founding Muslims in Rail, a national network seeking to connect, grow and inspire Muslims working or seeking a career in the rail industry.
The 27-year-old started his Thursday night ‘community watch’ street walks in 2018, when up to 40 volunteers decked out in Chris’ ‘United Blackpool' hoodies gave support to rough sleepers.
Earlier this year the soup kitchen he ran three nights a week with organisation Amazing Graze couldn’t operate because of Covid social distancing.
So, Chris organised for 1,200 hot meals to be delivered directly to those who needed them every week.
Chris said: “From a very young age I’ve always wanted to help those with less than I had. I have never done any of this for any recognition, and I am truly humbled and amazed that now the Queen knows about United Blackpool! It’s not just me doing the great work, so it’s only right to accept this MBE on behalf of all the people who volunteer.”
In 2019 he was recognised as one of Blackpool’s Local Heroes by the Blackpool Gazette and won a 2019 Railstaff Award.
He also volunteered within Network Rail to become a charity ambassador for the North West & Central region, giving him more opportunities to help the homeless, both in his home town and across the North West.
Tim Shoveller, North West & Central region’s managing director, said: “The work Chris has done to combat homelessness has inspired us all.
“I’m really pleased Chris has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. I’m proud to have him on the North West and Central team and I’m looking forward to continuing to support his important work in the future.”
A Network Rail signaller who provides help and support to homeless people in Blackpool has not only won another award for his kindness but managed to use Blackpool North station as a place to stay to help get a good nights sleep.
To donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/blackpool-... In this bitter cold and damp Chris Conway, a relief signaller at Bamber Bridge, near Preston, and his team of dedicated volunteers was able to help people living on the streets in the town by opening the doors of the town's railway station.
United Blackpool Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/unitedblackpool His charity United Blackpool and his kind efforts were recognised at the RailStaff awards, held at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham last Thursday (28 November) where he won the ‘Award for Charity’.
Blackpool Sleep Out Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/14307... Chris regularly leads a team of volunteers who support rough sleepers in his hometown of Blackpool, providing them with food, hot drinks and support to help them change their circumstances with the charity Amazing Graces. https://www.facebook.com/AmazingGraze
>Birthday Honours List Webpage