A tanker driver with one of the UK’s largest oil and fuel distribution company’s Certas Energy has been named “FPS OAMPS Hazardous Industries Driver of the Year 2017”, by heating oil trade association The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers, in its annual competition to find the driver who has gone the ‘extra mile’ for their customers or, who has done something way beyond their normal duties.
Darren Gilham from Certas’ Ashford depot was the chosen winner with Chris Brooks of NWF/Evesons, Kenilworth and Clifford Tappin of Lovell Fuels, Aylesbury were awarded runner up prizes.
FPS Technical Manager and Judge of the Awards Tony Brown commented: “The driver of the year was very close this year, with really nothing between them and so it was difficult to make the final decision. However, Darren stood out as we learnt he had saved a lady’s life whilst making a routine delivery and this was not the first time Darren had stepped in to save someone. On this occasion Darren stepped in to help a lady who suffered from Diabetes and had become unconscious in her car. Darren spotted her and his quick thinking and actions on the day ensured she made a full recovery.
A previous winner of the FPS Driver of the Year Darren’s heroics also won him the award in 2006.
During an ordinary day on his way into work, Darren rescued a man from a blazing car with no thought for his own safety. He just pulled the man out of the car and saved his life. Then upon arriving in the office, whereby most people would be telling everyone their exciting story, Darren was more concerned about the fact that he was late for work and he was quite embarrassed by his act of bravery.
But, the story doesn’t end there, when his company at the time Southern Counties Fuels had a bad stretch of weather in winter 2005 with snow drifts and they couldn’t get the tankers out of the depot that didn’t stop Darren. He knew that an elderly couple were running short on fuel so he loaded up his own 4×4 vehicle and drove to the couple’s house and delivered much needed fuel and supplies to them to last them through to the end of the cold spell. Once again, he thought only about other people.
Although up against stiff competition representing oil distributors throughout the UK and Ireland, Darren was voted unanimous winner of this year’s competition.
Impressed not only by Darren’s heroics but his long track record of outstanding customer care and service, obvious dedication to his job and, in particular, by the strong rapport that he has established with customers and colleagues alike during his career, the judges voted Darren the overall winner and awarded him the prestigious winners glass trophy and a £1000 first prize. Both Chris and Clifford received runners up glass trophies and £250 each.
Ian Peach of sponsors OAMPS Hazardous Industries adds: “OAMPS Hazardous Industries are very proud to continue our sponsorship of the FPS Driver of the Year award. Drivers are the heartbeat of all distribution companies and they are sometimes not recognised for their achievements. OAMPS and FPS understand the vital importance each driver brings to each company and they can massively impact reputation, relationships, insurance costs and the like so their work is invaluable and this award is small recognition for their diligent work.”
The Driver of the Year award is now in its 17th year and is proving very successful year on year with more and more drivers being nominated. It is aimed at drivers who have been employed by the nominating company for a minimum of 12 months. Only companies who are members of the FPS may submit nominations and the competition is limited to one entry per depot. What’s more, the nominated driver must have had an incident free 12 months (no accidents or spillages).