Duo who fought to save life honoured

Martin Plume (left) and Chris Kelk (right) with Paul Farrell's wife Lesley Farrell (middle right) and her daughter Amy Taylor (middle left).
Martin Plume (left) and Chris Kelk (right) with Paul Farrell's wife Lesley Farrell (middle right) and her daughter Amy Taylor (middle left).

Two Skegness bus drivers, who battled to save the life of a colleague after he suffered a heart attack, have been honoured.

Chris Kelk, 36, from Skegness, and Martin Plume, 56, from Sutton on Sea, were among those recognised at the recent annual Stagecoach Group Champions Awards.

The awards, which this year were being held for a sixth time, celebrate excellence among the business in six areas – safety, health, community, customer service, environment and innovation – with Chris and Martin collecting the Health Champion award.

Winners at the event represented Stagecoach Group’s bus, rail, tram and coach businesses in Europe and North America.

All received a trophy, a cash prize and a two-night stay in London.

Chris and Martin gave cardiopulmonary resuscitation to fellow Skegness driver Paul Farrell until paramedics arrived when he suffered a heart attack in September last year. Sadly, despite their efforts, Paul died. He was 49.

The situation, however, led to a fundraising campaign to ensure that the Skegness depot has a defibrillator.

Paul’s wife, Lesley, wrote to Stagecoach to thank Chris and Martin and recommend them for a commendation.

Stagecoach East Midlands managing director Michelle Hargreaves said: “I am delighted for Martin and Chris and would like to congratulate them on these awards, which are thoroughly deserved.

“They make a real difference to our business and to our customers every day and I would like to thank them, and our many other hard-working staff, for the part they play in delivering high-quality services to our passengers.”

About 125 Stagecoach employees have been presented with Champions Awards over the last six years.

Martin said: “We both felt very honoured. It was a big honour to be recognised, but to go ahead and actually win the award was amazing.”

The funds needed for the defibrillator were raised in a number of ways.

This included three bus drivers – Ade Collins, Brad Griffiths and Phil Shooter – having their heads shaved, a company raffle, and a charity gig by local band No Direction – Stagecoach employees Mark Day, Brad Griffiths, Mick Lymer, Steve Meffen and David Whitehead.