Van driver who saved motorist from burning car named Hero of the Year

Kevin Marriott, a van delivery driver for Sainsbury’s who saved a motorist who was trapped in a burning car after a high-speed crash, has been named Hero of the Year at the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) 2019 Van Excellence Honours Lunch.

In autumn 2019, a motorist crashed his car at high speed into a lamp post in Fenay Bridge near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire; his engine subsequently burst into flames, leaving the driver trapped inside the burning vehicle. Upon coming across the scene, Marriott used his fire extinguisher from his cab to hold back the flames; when it ran out, he raced to a nearby pub, grabbed more extinguishers, and continued to fight the flames until firefighters arrived. On arrival, firefighters cut the motorist out of the vehicle and Marriott was praised for his brave actions.

Marriott was presented with the Hero of the Year award at a ceremony at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans, on November 12.

Kevin Green, director of marketing & communications at the FTA, said: “The Hero of the Year award recognises and rewards the van drivers who go above and beyond the call of duty. Mr Marriott, who fought off flames to save a motorist trapped in a burning car, showed unbelievable ingenuity, bravery and perseverance in the face of adversity. While van drivers play a vital role in our society, too often their contributions are undervalued; Mr Marriot is a shining example of how they can be some of the most hard-working, dedicated and selfless people in the UK.”

Marriott said he was “over the moon” to receive the award. “The support and recognition I have received from both the local community and my colleagues since the incident has been very touching; this award truly is the icing on the cake. I would like to thank my team for nominating me for this award; I am so pleased my actions helped to save a man’s life.

“I’ve been driving for Sainsbury’s for about five months but been with the company for approximately 4.5 years. I’m from Huddersfield living in the area of Holmfirth and the best part of our job is our customers, getting to meet so many wonderful and different people in our community.”

Andy Eccles, head of fleet at Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, added: “According to the Collins English Dictionary, a hero is defined as a person distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility and fortitude, and those words are truly fitting for the selfless actions taken by Kevin Marriott. While his employers are quite rightly proud of him, I know the entire van community will be immensely proud of him too, as he has proved that brave, hard-working and committed van drivers are absolutely at the heart of our country, keeping businesses, and indeed lives, moving every single day. Kevin really is a hero and wholeheartedly deserves this recognition.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a freelance journalist and former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK's biggest selling truck magazine. He writes for both The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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