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King’s New Year’s Honours List recognises three Network Rail employees

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Three Network Rail employees have been recognised for their outstanding contributions in the King’s New Year’s Honours List.

Nick Millington, Stephanie Hart and Mark Bridel have been recognised for their services to the railway as well as charitable and voluntary services.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said:

“I’d like to give a massive congratulations to Nick, Stephanie and Mark for this well-deserved recognition of their outstanding efforts. 

“It’s wonderful to see colleagues lending their time, expertise and determination to good causes and making a meaningful difference to the communities we serve across the country. We are all proud to call them our colleagues and I am delighted they’ve been honoured.”

  • Nick Millington, interim route director for the Wales and Borders route, has been awarded an MBE, (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the railway, charity and the NHS.

Nick volunteered to help the NHS and the British Army with the creation of the NHS Nightingale Hospitals at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. He then went on to coordinate an army of volunteers that worked day and night to transform a former DIY store in Exeter into the regions’ new Nightingale Hospital and then later setting up a new large-scale vaccination centre at Westpoint Exeter.

He has undertaken various volunteer roles with the Permanent Way Institution (PWI), including serving as president for 12 months, and has championed diversity and equality, whilst actively coaching and supporting the next generation of chartered engineers. He also been instrumental in leading the Network Rail ‘Safety Task Force’, focused on improving the safety of all track workers,  which has resulted in a 99% reduction in the highest risk work types over 3 years. This has led to a 70% reduction in ‘near misses’ between track workers and trains and ‘potential fatalities’.

Nick Millington MBE

Nick also serves as a Run Director at the Exmouth ParkRun (and has also completed over 100 ParkRun events himself). He is an active Mental Health Champion and has been instrumental in generating fundraising ideas, including running the London Marathon, and raising more than £250,000 for Network Rail’s nominated charity partner, CLIC Sargent, with his team.

Nick Millington MBE said: 

“I feel truly privileged to be recognised by His Majesty the King in the New Year’s Honours list. I would especially like to thank the teams who have worked alongside me, whether that be in a voluntary or professional capacity because without such great people, many of these achievements would not have been possible.  Helping others in need has always been a huge honour for me, especially during times of crisis and it gives me great satisfaction to know that I’ve made a real difference to improving the lives of others”.

  • Stephanie Hart, End User Computer Lead, has been awarded an MBE for her work to create and Network Rail’s Laptops for Schools programme, determined to help underprivileged children access education.

As Network Rail rolled out new computers to its workforce, Stephanie saw the opportunity to give something back to the community and donate the old laptops to schoolchildren to help further their education. In her own time, and on top of her already busy role, she tirelessly worked to make made the programme happen. The pandemic only increased her determination to see this through as it highlighted the genuine need in so many communities.

Stephanie worked far and wide across Network Rail to promote the scheme and encourage people to return their old laptops so they could become part of the programme. She created the whole process, from getting colleagues to nominate schools in need, to the fair and impartial method of choosing which schools should be the ones to receive batches of cleansed and ready laptops. Some 740 schools were nominated and selected via a lottery process. The need for data security means that wiping the old laptops can be a lengthy process, but she has fought through all barriers and 110 schools have so far benefitted, with more than 6,000 laptops given away to date. Her aim is to deliver a minimum of 8,000 devices by the end of the programme and she’s on track to exceed her targets.

Stephanie Hart MBE

Stephanie Hart MBE said:

“I am incredibly humbled and proud to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. The Laptops for Schools project was many years in the making and everything fell into place at the right time during the Covid-19 pandemic to start to distribute the laptops to schools. Everyone has been so supportive from my team, others in different routes and regions and also the senior executive team. 

“The Laptops for Schools programme has now been built into the future sustainability framework within Network Rail so that it’s something we can continue to do for years to come.

“The schools and children have been incredibly grateful to receive the devices and was a huge part in helping children continue to learn from home during the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to help the schools for years to come hoping to help more children with their IT skills.”

  • Mark Bridel, Regional Freight Manager for Network Rail’s Eastern region, has been awarded with the British Empire Medal (BEM) for the fundraising he has carried out for Martin House Children’s Hospice, which provides free care for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses across West, North and East Yorkshire.

Mark has been raising funds for the charity for more than four years and leads on the operational elements of organising charter train tours for the hospice, which includes arranging the train routing, planning the tours and coordinating the train operating companies to make sure they run smoothly.

Mark negotiates the access with external companies – from power stations to ports and quarries – so that the charity events can run without interrupting the vital work these organisations are doing. Mark is also the on-board contact on each tour, for the whole duration each is operational, which can be up to four days, to keep things on track.

The team running these tours, has raised more nearly £200,000 for the hospice. Mark plans to continue with his fundraising activity and hopes to raise more than £100,000 over the next 12 months in order to try and recoup some of the funds lost through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mark Bridel BEM said:

Mark Bridel BEM

“It was a wonderfully unexpected and truly humbling surprise to be honoured with a BEM for my part in a small team who organise charity rail charters raising funds for Martin House. The circa £200k we have raised for the hospice over the last 4 years has been an exhilarating ride and we have a programme of charter trains planned for 2023 with which we aim to add at least another £75k to the total as a result.

“The ability to utilise the relationships built over the years within the freight team at Network Rail has provided an amazing conduit to open access to locations where it would not normally be possible to run a passenger train and this is the main driver for the fantastic totals we have been able to raise for the hospice with visits to the likes of Drax Power Station, Hitachi manufacturing at Heighington and many other facilities around the Eastern Region and beyond.”

Photo credits: Network Rail

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