A Peterborough manager who helped raise thousands for the victims of the Grenfell fire tragedy has been given an award.
Employee engagement manager at Govia Thameslink Railway Paula Hilliard was the driving force behind a fundraising effort to help those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. In less than a week, a team of around 50 volunteers organised collections at some of the largest stations on the GTR network and raised more than £12,500.
Now she has won the RBF “Heart of Gold” Award for Charity at the RailStaff Awards.
Paula, who has worked within the rail industry for 21 years, said: “It was just something that everybody wanted to get involved in, but we had to turn it round really quickly because we wanted to make sure the money got there as quickly as possible.”
She added: “I am really humbled to have won this award. I see my job as a team effort, supported by station managers, frontline teams and head office.
“I’m proud to work for GTR - it really is a great company which does a lot to help people less fortunate; the work I do genuinely wouldn’t be possible without the support that I get from across the business. Because of this, this award has been accepted on behalf of everyone in the company that’s helped to raise money, or supported with the Prince’s Trust programme.”
Charles Horton, GTR’s chief executive officer, said: “Many congratulations to all our colleagues who received richly deserved nominations for the RailStaff Awards.
“Paula has worked tirelessly with young people as part of GTR’s ‘Get into Railways’ programme with the Prince’s Trust, and more recently has organised fundraising support for a number of young football teams.
“I would also like to recognise and warmly congratulate our other shortlisted colleagues and teams who have all worked so hard. It’s great to see them commended by the wider industry.”
The award was sponsored by the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) - a charity which provides support to its rail industry members in times of need.
Faye Jaques, fundraising manager at RBF, said: “The quality of nominations was just fantastic this year. Each entry truly showed what a wonderful industry we work in and highlighted the exact personalities we wanted to celebrate, those with a real heart of gold.”
The RailStaff Awards, which was held on October 7 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, celebrates the achievements of the individuals and teams who work in the rail sector.
Tom O’Connor, from event organiser Rail Media, said: “The RailStaff Awards is now in its 11th year but it feels as relevant as ever. We’re always humbled by the stories behind our winners and honoured to give something back to the industry. We must also thank our sponsors for making the night possible and everyone who attended for such a memorable evening.”