Black tie and ballgowns
On Wednesday, 8th November, I drove to the rather splendid Hilton Metro Hotel at the heart of the NEC or National Exhibition Centre where the industries elite movers and shakers were gathered to attend the Route One Awards. To recognise and reward excellence within the coach and bus industry, there are a total of 16 awards, which this year saw the new award of coach tourism – a welcome addition to the format. Over 800 people were duly engaged with a champagne reception before taking to their rather ornate tables to enjoy the wonderful food, and drink, where we were to find out who the 70 stand out individuals and businesses who were shortlisted would be crowned as the winners.
Route One awards Judges
A team of 7 highly respected judges was tasked with the difficult responsibility of selecting from over 250 entries just who would be worthy to be shortlisted and finally win the prestigious awards. I have been fortunate enough to be a judge for a number of years now for the UK Bus Awards, and I can tell you that sometimes passions run high, as the smallest of margins can mean the difference between selection and disappointment. But the judging is always fair and impartial, as it should be, for all such events.
It is worth reflecting that these awards have been ongoing since the very first event way back in 2005, and it must be said that these awards are, in my view, very crucial for the future of the bus and coach industry. We must celebrate and praise the very best who represent our unique and vital industry. Just look at how the nation depended on the bus and coach throughout the pandemic when those essential workers were taken by bus to wherever they needed to go.
Tim Deacon Editor Route One Magazine
As I took my place at table 38, where I had been very kindly invited by my friend Tim Deacon, the editor of Route One, and rather excellent co-host along with famed standup comedian and hero of the classic Father Ted, Ardel O’Hanlon, who was Father Dougal in the show, which is as funny today as it was when it was made in the nineties. I was absolutely delighted to be a guest of Rpute One along with some other very respected senior industry figures, including Sarah Bell, one of the Traffic Commissioners as well as Martin Dean, UK MD Go Ahead, and Ian Luckett, former guru of Lucketts Coaches.
After fine and witty conversation, the awards were announced and I have to say that the double act between Tim and Ardel was indeed very good. Ardel’s standup comedy was very funny indeed, and his one liners and casual comments throughout were very quick. The two guys did a great job in holding the timings together and making sure that people were respectful as the awards were announced.
Go South Coast Andrew Wickham MD
On a personal note, I was delighted to see that the MD of Go South Coast, Mr Andrew Wickham, won the large bus operator of the year award. Having seen the fantastic way that the whole company rallied around when sadly two local operators went out of business, the way that the company mobilised was quite amazing. It almost resembling a military operation. It was great to see that company and the good man that leads it get the recognition it deserves.
John Johnson lifetime Achievement Award
Finally, the lifetime achievement award went to a man who I have admired for many years, John Johnson from Johnsons Coaches in Henley in Arden. It was great to see him and the company be rewarded for operating a really good high-calibre local bus and coach company, and there are very many to chose from across the length and breadth of this truly great nation of ours. It was great to be representing uTrack at such a prestigious event. A huge well done to Tim and Daniel Lunn and all the other great members of the Route One team, and I look forward to celebrating again next year.
View the pictures of the event: Route One Awards.