Showman Richard Salkeld shone so brightly at the 2018 RailStaff Awards that organisers have signed him up to return for this year’s ceremony.
Not only did his sequin jackets add a touch of glitz and glamour in a room of black-tie suits and cocktail dresses, Richard perfectly orchestrated proceedings, which cost tens of thousands of pounds and took the best part of a year to organise.
He may not have known what to expect, having never attended the RailStaff Awards before, but Richard was unfazed by the thousands of watching eyes and had the necessary skills and personality to keep the momentum going regardless of what was thrown at him.
“It was genuinely a real joy,” said the former journalist, who recently swapped the Great Western for the East Coast main line to oversee media at LNER. “It has always been an ambition of mine to host the Eurovision Song Contest and I think that night was the closest I’ve got to it.
“The whole event felt like a glossy Saturday night floor show with entertainment, the spectacle, the awards themselves, the personalities and with everybody looking so fantastic. It was kind of like a Royal Variety Performance railway awards.
“I recall a real sense of railway family at the event which certainly made it feel like an intimate event despite being at one of the country’s largest venues.”
Richard takes great pride in his work and the impact it can have, something that is helped by his lifelong love of railways.
“I’ve got a real affinity with the East Coast route. My grandad was a train driver for British Rail and I remember him taking me to Newcastle station to have a look inside the cab of an InterCity 125 and being allowed to honk the horn.
“I remember holding it for so long that I can remember seeing pigeons flying out past the canopy of the station and having to have my fingers peeled off the lever to stop the horn from going off.”
Richard said he treasured his time at Great Western Railway and the opportunity to learn about the Class 800 trains and a different part of the country and that he returned to the East Coast with “more knowledge and experience”.
Knowledge and experience
When the RailStaff Awards returns in less than five months time, Richard will also return to the role as host with more knowledge and experience.
“I’ve been really privileged to host or co-host events ranging from the Railway Benefit Fund Gala Dinners to the Association of Community Rail Awards to name a few so it’s always difficult knowing what the audiences will be like and if the tone and humour will hit the spot,” he added. “I’d like to think the professional set-up, big screens, sparkly jackets and occasionally deviating from the script to have a chat with winners and sponsors made for an unpredictable and entertaining night – and will again this year.”
Organisers meanwhile are hoping to draw on your knowledge and experience to make the ceremony on Thursday, November 28, possible.
Do you work with a selfless charity fundraiser, a station assistant who’s saved a life or a hardworking OLE engineer? If you do, head to railstaffawards.com and nominate them for a chance to be recognised by the industry.
Spending a few short moments of your time telling us why they deserve to win could help to create more special moments that will be remembered for years to come.
Tickets for the RailStaff Awards are now on sale. To secure your ticket or table, go to www.railstaffawards.com
Do you work with an extraordinary train driver, station manager or engineer? Nominate them in one of 20 categories today:
The categories in full:
- Apprentice of the Year
- Award for Charity
- Customer Service Award
- Depot Staff Award
- Digital Railway Person or Team Award
- Graduate or Newcomer Award
- HR, Diversity & Inclusion Person or Team Award
- Learning & Development Award
- Lifetime Achievement Award
- Marketing & Communications Team Award
- Rail Civils / Infrastructure Team Award
- Rail Engineer of the Year
- Rail Manager of the Year
- Rail Person of the Year
- Rail Project Manager Award
- Rail Team of the Year
- Recruitment Person or Team
- Safety Person or Team Award
- Samaritans Lifesaver Award
- Station Staff Award