Big-hearted driver John up for award

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A FUN-LOVING charitable bus driver from Mussleburgh has been nominated for a prestigious award after almost 30 years in the business.

John Lyall has been transporting passengers around the Honest Toun for 27 years and has earned a reputation for outstanding customer care and supporting the local community. Over the years he has raised thousands of pounds for good causes such as Save the Children, Sick Kids as well as many others.

Mr Lyall’s most recent charitable outing took place in August last year, when he raised over £1000 by spending five hours up to his neck in a tub of more than 77,400 baked beans in Waverley Station – all to raise money for a good cause.

As an employee with local bus operator, First Scotland East, Mr Lyall took up the challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, FirstGroup’s national charity partner.

Commenting on the challenge last year Mr Lyall said: “I’m really pleased we managed to raise so much money.”

“I’m really grateful to the hundreds of rail passengers who stopped and took the time to donate money. It just shows how supportive and incredibly generous people are. It was great fun, but I hadn’t anticipated how cold soaking in baked beans would be. It was freezing.”

Now Mr Lyall, 59, who lives in Grove Street with his wife Evelyn, has been shortlisted for the Frontline Employee of the Year prize at this year’s Scottish Transport Awards. The prestigious awards bring together the transport community to recognise and celebrate industry achievements across Scotland as well as some of the unsung heroes such as John.

They will be hosted by television presenter and journalist Kirsty Wark with Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP as the keynote speaker.

Mr Lyall commented on his nomination for Employee of the Year saying: “I’m really surprised to have been shortlisted. I love driving buses and really enjoy the interaction I have with my customers.”

Mr Lyall began his career as a bus driver in 1987 and quickly became popular with customers. In 2009 he was elected to become the company’s employee director after his fellow colleagues and peers voted for him to represent their interests at board level.

Paul McGowan, First Scotland East’s managing director, said: “Our customers love John – we’ve lost track of the number of commendations he has received. He’s very much a people person, which is reflected in his approach to customer service.

“Everyone at First Scotland East is proud that John has been shortlisted at the Scottish Transport Awards – we hope he’ll be successful and 
win the Frontline Employee of the Year title.”

The awards which are supported by the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland, take place on June 19 in Glasgow.