The bravery of Sainsbury’s delivery driver Kevin Marriott has been recognised at the Van Excellence Honours Lunch, organised by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Last month, a motorist crashed his car at high speed into a lamp post in Fenay Bridge, West Yorkshire.
The vehicle burst into flames, leaving the driver trapped inside, but quick thinking Mariott, who had come across the scene, used his fire extinguisher to initially hold back the flames.
When it ran out, he raced to a nearby pub where he 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.
The Sainsbury’s delivery driver, was presented with the Hero of the Year award at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham, yesterday (Tuesday, November 12).
Kevin Green, director of marketing and communications at FTA, which administers the Van Excellence scheme, said: “The Hero of the Year award recognises and rewards the van drivers who go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Mr Marriott, who fought off flames to save a motorist trapped in a burning car, showed unbelievable ingenuity, bravery and perseverance in the face of adversity.
“While van drivers play a vital role in our society, too often their contributions are undervalued; Mr Marriot is a shining example of how they can be some of the most hard-working, dedicated and selfless people in the UK.”
Marriott told Commercial Fleet: “I am over the moon to be crowned Hero of the Year at the Van Excellence Honours Lunch.
“The support and recognition I have received from both the local community and my colleagues since the incident has been very touching; this award truly is the icing on the cake. I would like to thank my team for nominating me for this award; I am so pleased my actions helped to save a man’s life.
“I've been driving for Sainsbury’s for about five months but been with the company for approximately 4.5 years. I'm from Huddersfield living in the area of Holmfirth and the best part of our job is our customers, getting to meet so many wonderful and different people in our community.”
The awards, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans, the AA, Bott, Brigade Electronics, Hertz, Lex Autolease and Quartix, celebrate the businesses and individuals leading the way in excellence and setting a high standard for others to follow.
Andy Eccles, head of fleet at Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “According to the Collins English Dictionary, a hero is defined as a person distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility and fortitude, and those words are truly fitting for the selfless actions taken by Kevin Marriott.
“While his employers are quite rightly proud of him, I know the entire van community will be immensely proud of him too, as he has proved that brave, hard-working and committed van drivers are absolutely at the heart of our country, keeping businesses, and indeed lives, moving every single day. Kevin really is a hero and wholeheartedly deserves this recognition.”
Van Excellence was created in 2010 to promote the safe operation of vans, represent the interests of the sector, and celebrate operators demonstrating excellent standards.
Central to the scheme is the Van Excellence Code, a set of minimum best practice standards all van operators should aspire to achieve, covering safety, efficiency and sustainability.
For the full list of winners from the Van Excellence Awards, click here.