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Rail workers recognised in New Year’s Honours List

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Rail workers from across the industry have been recognised in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List, published on 31 December.

Among the recipients were Simon Edward French, Chief Inspector of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to Railway Safety.

Barry Macdonald Graham, Senior Rail Adviser at Northern Trains was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the Rail Industry. Marie Addison, Regional Community and Sustainability Manager, Northern Trains Ltd, also received the MBE for services to the community in Northumberland.

Milla Mazilu, Principal Programme Controls Manager at Network Rail, was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her vital work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of her Network Rail duties, Milla volunteers with the Royal Academy of Engineering on a project called COVID-19 African Rapid Entrepreneurs (CARE). Milla has led projects for the academy and trained other members in using new technologies. 

The main aim of the CARE programme is to support African engineering entrepreneurs to make and supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is effectively used in hospitals and clinics in sub-Saharan Africa.

“I am delighted to see Milla receive this recognition, her passion for innovation and improvement extends not only in our work place but within volunteering work across the industry,” said Stuart Calvert, Head of Capital Delivery at Network Rail Wales and Western. “To be able to support Royal Academy of Engineering with CARE shows Milla’s dedication to her profession, her desire to share that passion and the true team spirit that the railway is known for.” 

Two other Network Rail employees across the business were recognised in the New Year’s Honours. Akthar Hussain and Vince James were awarded BEMs for various work including crucial volunteer and community work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, boosting diversity in the rail industry, and helping ex-prisoners get the skills and qualifications they need for a career on the railway.

“I would like to congratulate Akthar, Milla and Vince for their inclusion in the New Year’s Honours list,” said Network Rail chief executive, Andrew Haines. “It makes me proud to hear about the incredible, selfless work employees are doing to improve the lives of others in their communities and further afield. As a company we benefit from their outstanding commitment, and it is great to see their dedication acknowledged at the highest level.” 

Richard Holliday, who works for TransPennine Express (TPE), was given the BEM for services to mental health in West Yorkshire. He regularly gives up his time to provide life-saving support for Samaritans, and has been a strong advocate in raising awareness about suicide prevention on the railway.

Richard is passionate about creating opportunities for young people and helps lead TPE’s annual apprenticeship programme, where individuals are also given the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Outside of work, between 2013 and 2018, he volunteered with Kirklees Council as an Appropriate Adult supporting 10–17-year-olds in police custody.

He also played an important role in supporting his colleagues through the Covid-19 pandemic, introducing ‘Zoom elevenses’ calls that anyone could dial into. He champions mental health awareness in the workplace and is open about his own experience in this area when providing support to others.

“I’m completely overwhelmed,” said Richard. “I didn’t realise I’d been nominated but am thrilled.

“Samaritans do such important work and I am proud to do what I can for them. Giving back to others is so important and I’m so happy that my contribution has been recognised in this way.”

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