GWR team who led COVID-19 response recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Four long-serving Great Western Railway employees have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Head of Public Affairs, Jane Jones, receives an MBE, while Bex Hartley, Charlotte Murray and Matt Cambourne are awarded British Empire Medals (BEM) for their COVID-19 response.

The trio worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure vital train services were maintained for key workers, and that the latest Government guidelines were implemented for the safety of colleagues and customers.

This included regular changes to the timetable, the introduction of an enhanced cleaning regime and implementing the latest advice on social distancing to ensure customers could travel with confidence.

GWR Managing Director, Mark Hopwood, said: “I am extremely proud that four of the GWR team have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. These awards recognise the outstanding contribution to the rail industry and also the response to the pandemic.

“The GWR is a vital part of the communities we serve and these honours recognise great people who have done so much, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. The outstanding work of these individuals and their teams played a significant part in helping to keep key workers safely on the move.”

As Head of Public Affairs, Jane Jones has nurtured and grown important relationships with local authorities, communities and stakeholders across the whole of the GWR network.

Years of dedicated service have proved invaluable to the GWR business and also to the Department for Transport, nurturing policy and community collaboration.

Jane, from Plymouth, said: “It is always nice to get a thank you, and this was such a wonderful surprise. I am grateful to those who nominated me and really pleased to see the rail industry recognised for the role we play in connecting people and communities.”

Project Manager Bex Hartley played a vital role in GWR’s operational response to COVID-19, co-ordinating different departments across the business. Through her management, GWR worked with communities to identify key services and ensure they were protected.

Bex, of Swindon, said: “I feel totally honoured and privileged to receive this award, knowing my contributions to co-ordinating the GWR response to Covid and delivering for our key workers has helped towards developing a national response strategy.”

As Deputy Head of Security & Resilience, Charlotte Murray kept track of the latest Covid-19 updates, amending GWR’s plans and procedures to ensure the business was ready to react to the latest developments.

With ever-changing advice and rules being sent out from Government, Charlotte ensured GWR was up-to-date with the latest guidance to ensure the safety of colleagues and customers.

Charlotte, from Plymouth, said: “I was astounded when I received the nomination letter. It took a while for it to sink in and really understand what it meant. You never think something like this would ever happen to you.

“I am incredibly humbled to be awarded the BEM. It is incredibly difficult to explain how amazing it is to be recognised in this way.”

Head of Train Planning, Matt Cambourne, led from the front, steering the GWR through the most intensive period of timetable change in the history of the network.

At the start of lockdown, Matt and his team produced a new timetable, halving the number of services but protecting key worker journeys. This was then changed every three to four weeks – a task which would usually take a year of planning and testing.

Matt, from Bristol, said: “I was delighted to be awarded this honour, it was a real surprise and it took quite a while to sink in! I see this as a real testament to all the hard work put in by my wider team throughout the pandemic to deliver the best possible service for our customers.”

Image credit: GWR

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