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It Takes Two: South Tottenham duo takes home ‘Outstanding Personal Contribution’ at the National Rail Awards

15 September 2023

Arriva Rail London (ARL) station assistants Azaz Khan and Ray McDonagh have been recognised for their tireless work in converted a large area of waste land at South Tottenham station into an oasis, taking home the ‘Outstanding Personal Contribution’ award at the National Rail Awards (NRAs). 

The work on the garden has evolved into a number of projects with the local community, opening up new relationships and changing attitudes.

The NRAs board informed ARL that Azaz and Ray had been successful in reaching the finals back in May. After discovering he was a finalist for the ‘Outstanding Personal Contribution’ category, Azaz commented: “I am very grateful to ARL for celebrating my efforts and putting me forward as a finalist for the National Rail Awards. Each and every word of the entry was a pleasure to read and makes me feel incredibly proud of the work we’ve done.”

Due to the entry criteria for this category, Azaz and Ray had to be nominated as competing entries and therefore expected to be interviewed separately by the NRAs. However, there was a surprising turn of events on the day, as explained by service delivery manager, Hitesh Patel: “I accompanied Azaz and Ray to their interviews. The board made an exception and chose to interview them together, which I applauded. Whilst each told their own heartfelt story, it is clear that Azaz and Ray see themselves as a team. I think all four of the panel were blown away – one of the judges even appeared to be close to tears.”

The final award to be announced at the awards ceremony was the ‘Outstanding Personal Contribution’ category. The judges jointly awarded Azaz and Ray for their commitment to growing a community at South Tottenham. Steph McGovern, who presented the ceremony, remarked: “It was immediately clear to judges that this extended far, far beyond merely creating a station garden.”