An 'inspirational' and exceptional driver at a Northampton logistics company has been honoured by a national campaign.
Stuart Ashby has been named an 'HGV hero' by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) after almost 34 years in the industry.
He has been working at Wellingborough Road-based firm, NN1 Personnel, for five years and director Justyna Sodel said: “We are extremely proud to have such a professional, committed and caring driver on our team.
"It’s great to see Stuart’s progress and how this has inspired other drivers to follow suit.
"We truly believe that Stuart sets an example for all other HGV drivers in the industry and is very worthy of being named an ‘HGV hero’. He’s a real inspiration to us all.”
Stuart always wants to pass his knowledge on to less experienced drivers, according to his nomination.
This could be based on past experiences, geographical knowledge, or keeping everyone updated on new rules and regulations as he is constantly educating himself.
Stuart is also very proud of the company he works for - he recently designed and printed his own NN1 Personnel hi-vis vest.
"We truly believe Stuart sets an example for other HGV drivers to follow and is worthy of the HGV Driver of the Year award," his nomination says.
Stuart also became an inspirational figure after he told his fellow drivers how he lost 25kg (nearly four stone) in weight in just five months.
This was a huge motivation to his colleagues and prompted many of NN1 Personnel’s other drivers to follow suit and start looking after their health more.
A recent study suggests 84 per cent of truck drivers are overweight or obese, with many suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes.
Due to the nature of their jobs, lorry drivers are faced with several barriers when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle.
They spend long periods of time sitting, their opportunities to be physically active at work are limited, the food available at rest stops tends to be unhealthy, and working shifts usually means they get less sleep than required.
As a consequence, lorry drivers have a lower life expectancy than the average working person.
Richard Smith, from The Road Haulage Association, said: “Stuart is a worthy recipient of the ‘HGV Heroes’ accolade.
"We hope this brings further recognition for the incredible work he has been doing to promote a healthier lifestyle to fellow truck drivers.
"The award also acknowledges the essential work that Stuart and his colleagues have been doing, not just recently but, all year round to keep our economy going and shops stocked.
"The fact that our truckers have continued to do this throughout a pandemic makes them all heroes.”
HGV Heroes has been launched by the RHA, which is the trade association for road transport and freight logistics operators.
The campaign is designed to find people across the country and beyond who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep the country running, especially during the coronavirus crisis.
The industry is essential for businesses and delivers everything that people rely on in their day-to-day lives, with 98 per cent of all goods consumed in the UK moved by truck.
To find out more about other 'HGV heroes' and the campaign, visit hgvheroes.co.uk.