Industry recognised in King’s Birthday Honours list

Professionals in the bus and coach industry have been recognised in The King’s Birthday Honours list.

Bill Hiron

Bill Hiron, Chair of ALBUM and MD of Stephensons of Essex, has been awarded an MBE in the list. Mr Hiron, who has chaired Album since 2018 is also a former President of CPT and was recognised for services to passenger transport.

“I am incredibly grateful for the honour of being awarded an MBE,” said Bill Hiron. “This recognition would not have been possible without the support of many of my colleagues over the years. I am particularly thankful to the dedicated team at Stephensons of Essex and the wider ALBUM membership for their unwavering support to me and their commitment to providing essential passenger transport services.”

David Astill, new Vice Chair of ALBUM and MD of Nottingham City Transport, said: “We are not surprised at all to see Bill receive an MBE for services to passenger transport.  The industry has seen many changes and challenges over the period of Bill’s time as Chair, and he has led ALBUM with professionalism and focus, offering insight for our membership on matters ranging from accessibility to fare capping, and to the ongoing recovery post-pandemic which has seen many of our members struggle to get back on track with driver recruitment and passenger recovery.”

Sonya Byers, Chief Executive Officer, Women in Transport, and patron of Women on the Move Against Cancer has been awarded an OBE for services to diversity.

Women in Transport is a not-for-profit organisation that empowers women in the industry to maximise their potential.

“I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition” – Sonya Byers, Chief Executive Officer, Women in Transport

Sonya said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition. This award is a testament to the incredible work of the teams at Women in Transport, Women on the Move Against Cancer, and parkrun global. Together, we have made strides in promoting diversity and inclusion in transport, supporting vital cancer initiatives, and fostering healthier communities. I am grateful to everyone who has been part of this journey and look forward to continuing our work to create positive change.”

Additionally, Head of Health and Safety at First Bus, Denise Harrison, has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours for her career-long dedication to the bus industry. Denise has recently surpassed 40 years’ service, beginning her career as a catering assistant at Ashton-under-Lyne Bus Station in Greater Manchester before becoming one of just six female bus drivers in a depot of over 400. Denise soon progressed into management roles before specialising in health and safety.

Denise is also Vice Chair of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).

“I just turned to my husband and said ‘I think I’ve been nominated for an MBE” – Denise Harrison MBE

Denise Harrison

Denise Harrison MBE said: “It’s absolutely crazy. I was in shock, I just turned to my husband and said ‘I think I’ve been nominated for an MBE. I think we’re going to Buckingham Palace!’ It’s an honour to be recognised for spending my entire career working and caring about the bus industry. I’m proud of myself.

“For me, buses are about connecting communities. If I can inspire more people to love and use the bus, then that’s my aim. I’ve spent four decades in the bus industry and can see the value that bus services bring to local communities and the economy.

“First Bus has been kind to me over the years. They’ve allowed me the time to gain qualifications and have trusted me to be my authentic self to achieve my goals. I’ve had an absolutely amazing career – no regrets whatsoever!”

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