80 years old Don Buckley receives standing ovation collecting his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 21st Rail Business awards (RBA)

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

Seven decades in a railway station sounds like most people’s hell – but Don Buckley has loved every second.

At the age of 14 Don turned up for his first day of work at Waterloo railway station with a smile on his face.

Now 80 years old and still working three-days-a-week, there is no sign of that grin fading.

This friendliness has put him in the position to meet big names like film director Alfred Hitchcock and James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore.

His achievements were rewarded last week when he was given a standing ovation at the 21st Rail Business awards (RBA) when collecting his Lifetime Achievement award.

Don arrived in London in 1953 and immediately joined the station team as a messenger boy.

He now aids visually impaired and disabled people and helps passengers in need of directions or assistance using his unmatched knowledge of the station.

Don said: “We’re here to help people wherever we can. I’ve made some great relationships with people I see at the station – they always stop to say hello.

“I’ve met some unbelievable people over the years; Sir Roger Moore, Alfred Hitchcock, Matt Damon and Sir Stanley Matthews.

“The station has changed a lot since I’ve been here. All the gentlemen wore bowler hats in those days, and everyone had an umbrella.

It was hard back then but I love working here, and it’s still the station I love. I have no plans to retire, despite my wife, children and grandchildren all asking.

“Waterloo station is a part of my life and I’m happy.”

South Western Railway (SWR) took away several other awards from the RBA, with Stephen Head, head of employee relations, winning Young Professional of the Year, and Jenny Saunders, head of stations and revenue protection, in the Women in Rail category.

SWR was also highly commended for its planning surrounding last year’s Royal Wedding.

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