A tanker driver with one of the UK’s largest oil and fuel distribution companies, Certas Energy, has been named FPS OAMPS Hazardous Industries Driver of the Year 2017.

(Pictured, far left) Driver of the Year award winner, Darren Gilham from Certas Energy.

Darren Gilham from Certas’ Ashford depot was the chosen winner, with Chris Brooks of NWF/Evesons in Kenilworth and Clifford Tappin of Lovell Fuels in Aylesbury awarded runner-up prizes.

The prize was awarded by the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS), a heating oil trade association, in its annual competition to find the driver who has gone the ‘extra mile’ for their customers.

Tony Brown, FPS Technical Manager and Judge of the Awards, commented: “The Driver of the Year award was very close this year, with really nothing between the candidates, so it was difficult to make the final decision. However, Darren stood out as we learnt he had saved a lady’s life whilst making a routine delivery. This was not the first time Darren had stepped in to save someone. On this occasion, Darren stepped in to help a lady who suffered from diabetes and had become unconscious in her car. Darren spotted her and his quick thinking and actions on the day ensured she made a full recovery.”

Similar heroics also won Gilham the FPS Driver of the Year award in 2006.

During an ordinary day on his way into work, Darren rescued a man from a blazing car with no thought for his own safety. He pulled the man out of the car and saved his life.  Then, upon arriving in the office, when most people would be telling everyone about their eventful morning, Darren was more concerned about the fact that he was late for work and was quite embarrassed by his act of bravery.

Furthermore, when his company at the time, Southern Counties Fuels, had a bad stretch of weather in the winter of 2005, snow drifts meant drivers could not get their tankers out of the depot. However, that did not stop Darren.  He knew that an elderly couple were running short on fuel so he loaded up his own 4×4 vehicle and drove to the couple’s house and delivered the much-needed fuel and supplies to them to last them through to the end of the cold spell.  Once again, Darren was selfless in his actions.

Although up against stiff competition representing oil distributors from throughout the UK and Ireland, Darren was voted unanimous winner of this year’s competition.

Impressed not only by Gilham’s heroics but his long track record of outstanding customer care, his obvious dedication to his job and the strong rapport that he has established with customers and colleagues alike during his career, the judges voted Darren the overall winner and awarded him the prestigious winner’s glass trophy and a £1000 prize. Both Chris and Clifford received runners-up glass trophies and £250 each.

Ian Peach, from sponsors OAMPS Hazardous Industries, added: “OAMPS Hazardous Industries are very proud to continue our sponsorship of the FPS Driver of the Year award. Drivers are the heartbeat of all distribution companies and are sometimes not recognised for their achievements. OAMPS and FPS understand the vital importance each driver brings to each company and how they can massively impact reputation, relationships, insurance costs and the like. This award is a small recognition of their diligent and invaluable work.”

The Driver of the Year award is now in its 17th year and is proving very successful year on year with more and more drivers being nominated.  The award is aimed at drivers who have been employed by the nominating company for a minimum of 12 months. Only companies who are members of the FPS may submit nominations and the competition is limited to one entry per depot. The nominated driver must have had an incident-free 12 months, with no recorded accidents or spillages.

For more information on how to enter the 2018 Awards or to receive an application form, contact Dawn Shakespeare on +44 (0) 121 767 1320 or email ds@fpsonline.co.uk