South West Trains torchbearers get ready for the relay
24 May 2012
· Staines & Windsor station manager to join relay on Friday 13 July in Swanage
· Mortlake clerical officer to carry torch on Sunday 22 July from Erith to Bexley
Popular railway workers Frank Roberts and Daniel Opoku from South West Trains are limbering up to participate in the UK’s Olympic Torch Relay this summer. Donning special white tracksuits for the event, both runners beat off stiff competition to be selected as torchbearers after being nominated by friends and colleagues. The winning pair will each complete their own 300-400 metre section of the course, flanked by hundreds of cheering locals, friends and family, eager to get a slice of the action and absorb the unique atmosphere of the event.
Setting the pace, on Friday 13 July, station manager for Staines and Windsor Frank Roberts who has worked for South West Trains for five years will begin his relay route at 12.30 in his home town Swanage. A former soldier and keen fund-raiser, Frank Roberts has raised £100,000 for charity over the years. In May 2011 he gave up his annual leave to spend six weeks walking the 633 mile South West Coast Path from Minehead to Poole for Heroes Haven in Swanage. With a passion for the railways, Frank has also fundraised for the Swanage Railway Trust and is heavily involved in the Swanage steam railway.
Frank Roberts commented: “After 30 years of supporting charities I’m delighted to be able to receive this recognition. This is a proud moment for me and I am grateful that South West Trains is getting behind me by purchasing my golden torch for the event”.
Picking up the baton on Sunday 22 July, Mortlake station clerical officer Daniel Opoku will start his run at approximately 16.00 in his home district of Erith where he will make his way to Bexley.
Daniel Opoku has worked for South West Trains for 17 years and was put forward to participate as a torchbearer because of his passion and commitment to customer service. Daniel Opoku, commented: “Being a part of the global showcase is very exciting as the Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world. I feel jubilant about being put forward to participate in this historic event and have been walking and jogging in Erith to prepare for the big day.”
As well as helping customers plan their journeys, making announcements and maintaining the ticket machines at his station, Daniel Opoku knows many of his customers by name and thrives on giving his customers a warm welcome. Over the years, Daniel Opoku has received a number of prestigious accolades for his outstanding customer service skills; National Railways Employee of the Year (2000), Personality of the Year (2000) and Frontline Customer Service Professional of the Year (2008) are just three examples.
The Olympic Torch Relay shines a light on the whole of the UK as torchbearers carry the flame through more than 1,000 of our cities, towns and villages. Lit in Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived in the UK on Friday and began its 70-day Olympic Torch Relay the following day. Carried by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers, the Olympic flame signifies peace, unity and friendship.
Frank will be participating in a half marathon for various Swanage charities the day after his Olympic torch relay. He can be sponsored by visiting swanagearmylink.org.uk
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Notes to Editors
South West Trains operates one of the busiest rail networks in Europe and runs almost 1,700 trains a day from London Waterloo. The company was named as Passenger Operator of the Year at the 2011 National Rail Awards.
South West Trains is part of Stagecoach Group, a leading international public transport group with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada.
Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada. The company employs 35,000 people and operates bus, coach, rail, and tram services.
Stagecoach is one of UK’s biggest bus and coach operators. Around 2.5 million passengers travel on Stagecoach's 7,700 buses every day on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The company's business includes major city bus operations in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield and Cambridge.
Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast inter-city rail franchise.
Stagecoach also operates the Sheffield tram network.
In North America, Stagecoach operates around 1,900 buses and coaches in the United States and Canada. Budget coach service megabus.com links around 80 key locations in North America. Stagecoach is also involved in operating commuter and transit services, as well as tours, charters, sightseeing tours and a small number of school bus services.