Q’Straint, the world-leading wheelchair passenger safety specialist, has recently sponsored another successful Q’Straint Midas Welsh Driver of the Year Awards at the Metropole Hotel Llandrindod Wells on 19 October, with Nigel Hewitt of Neath Port Talbot Community Transport (CT) winning the regional final.

For 25 years, Q’Straint has provided the most universal and easy-to-use passenger and wheelchair restraint systems in the world and now supports over 50 countries globally. Located in Kent, Q’Straint is a pro-active business in terms of supporting UK-based CT initiatives and was delighted to sponsor this event for another year. Its wheelchair and occupant restraints are widely used in accessible community vehicles as they provide efficient, flexible and durable solutions on a daily basis.

The Q’Straint Midas Welsh Driver of the Year finals involved five finalists completing a 30-minute driving assessment in a mini-bus around Llandrindod Wells under the supervision of Mike Entwhisle from the Powys Transport Training Agency. This was followed by an examination of each driver’s ability to successfully help and secure a mobility impaired passenger on to the mini-bus.

This year Mike also included an element of ‘Eco-driving’ into the competition and calculated each of the drivers MPG performance during their on-road assessments. Mike then reviewed the overall performance of the finalists with the regional winner and runner-up being announced at the Awards Dinner that evening.

The finalists were –

Carolyn Flynn – Rhayader & District Community Support

Shirley Jones – Rhayader & District Community Support

Nigel Hewitt – Neath Port Talbot Community Transport

Eddie Bunston – Pembrokeshire County Council

Vivian Alan Davies – Silcox Town Rider

The CTA Annual Member’s Meeting, the Drinks Reception and the Awards Dinner followed the driving assessments. At the Awards Dinner and after several other awards, Phil Stratton, UK and Ireland Sales Manager for Q’Straint, announced that Nigel Hewitt of Neath Port Talbot Community Transport was the winner and subsequently presented him with the award. Eddie Bunston from Pembrokeshire County Council was presented with the runner-up award.

Phil Stratton commented: “Today has been a huge success for everyone involved and Nigel is a worthy winner. Under test conditions he still delivered the same precision and control of the accessible mini-bus that he clearly maintains on a daily basis.

“Q’Straint champions community drivers who are as diligent as Nigel as they reflect our own ethos for maximised safety and minimised risk. MiDAS is a very worthwhile training programme and I would recommend it to all CT drivers nationwide. It has once again been a privilege for me to be involved with the awards and for Q’Straint to sponsor the event, especially when the CTA are always so appreciative of our support.”