Our stars of the year… revealed!

1 month ago Mon 21st Mar 2022

At a glittering ‘Night with the Stars’ ceremony at The Hilton Hotel, Kennet Island, we’ve revealed our ‘Star of the Year 2022’. 

We wanted to recognise the ‘fantastic work’ that our employees have been doing. We’re delighted to welcome back our Star of the Year Awards for the first time in two years after a challenging two years.

Drum roll…and our top honours go to:

-    Sharmila Perera – Overall Star of the Year and Support Star of the Year
-    Anthony Farmer – Driving Star of the Year
-    Jordan McKie – Engineering Star of the Year.

Our highest accolade was awarded to Sharmila Perera, for playing a pivotal role in the company’s financial survival since the start of the pandemic.

With Sharmila named ‘Support Star of the Year’ and the overall ‘Star of the Year’, honours also went to driving star Anthony Farmer, 50 who lives in Tilehurst, described as a role model and ambassador for Reading Buses, and engineering star Jordan McKie, 24 and who lives in Tilehurst, a great team member with a brilliant can-do attitude towards everything.

Whilst our whole team has been amazing during the pandemic, these three individuals have truly epitomised everything that is outstanding within Reading Buses

More about our winners…

Star of the Year & Support Star of the Year
Sharmila Perera, Group Management Accountant

Group Management Accountant Sharmila, who has worked at Reading Buses for 16 years, won the Support Star of the Year award for creating and managing a sustainable way of handling the company’s Covid-19 Bus Service Support Grant reconciliation submissions.

Sharmila’s handling of the submissions meant Reading Buses could receive much-needed funding at the height of the pandemic to keep services running for essential workers.

Sharmila created a system that took a lot of manual work out of the process of submitting information for the funding, saving a huge amount of resource.

Where questions were posed, Sharmila was able to answer them quickly and follow up with supporting evidence and documentation leading to all queries being fully closed out and resolved allowing us to receive the funding in a timely manner.

Sharmila, from Southcote, has been described by Managers as diligent and a credit to the company.

Driving Star of the Year
Anthony Farmer, Bus Driver

Anthony was praised in his nomination for demonstrating kindness, patience and helpfulness towards a disabled person when he was driving the 17 bus from town to Wokingham Road.

The man was unsuccessfully trying to manoeuvre a mobility scooter when Anthony helped him to steer. It took a long time to help the customer, but Anthony was said to have been patient, cheerful and encouraging the whole time.

When another customer on the bus said he wanted to tell Reading Buses how marvellous he was, modest Anthony said it was just part of his job and was reluctant to give his name. The customer, who insisted, said he just wanted Anthony’s employers to know how well he did.

Anthony has worked for Reading Buses for 19 years so to see him still full of enthusiasm and patience is great. Whenever our drivers encounter unusual situations, we are always delighted to see them remain calm, friendly and helpful. 

Anthony was definitely this and was recognised not just for the individual nomination, but his consistently excellent performance throughout 19 years working at Reading Buses.

Jordan McKie
Engineering Star of the Year

Engineer Jordan was said to have stepped into the fold without hesitation to fuel and clean vehicles to have them ready as soon as possible after another team member become ill. As part of the engineering crew, he has been praised for always showing attention to detail and being proactive in his communication with other departments

He was praised as a great team member with an unrelenting positive can-do attitude, outstandingly helpful to the control room team and drivers, demonstrating Reading Buses’ values of doing the right thing, staying safe and healthy, having fun and customer focus.

Jordan, who has worked for Reading Buses for five years, was recognised for his ongoing performance and development as much as for the nomination itself. We think he should be highly praised for his positive attitude and helpful demeanour.

Celebrating our amazing employees

Celebrating employees is especially important this year as we’re celebrating two years’ worth of employee achievements across the pandemic.

We held special ‘GEM Awards’ last year but couldn’t have a proper ceremony due to Covid. We are thrilled to be able to celebrate with our team in person this year.

This is even more special than ever before as it covers the challenging time where employees were key workers, but still helping people get around Reading with a smile.

We can’t emphasise enough how hard it was to select Sharmila, Anthony and Jordan, as we believe all our employees are stars.