Going the extra mile

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George was thrilled by his win at the UK Coach Awards

Madaline Dunn caught up with Transport Supervisor George Docherty to talk about his recent win at the UK Coach Awards, and to find out how the Unsung Hero has got to where he is today

Fifty-five-year-old George Docherty started off his working life younger than most – at the age of eight to be exact. Beginning as an ice cream lad, ever the hardworking type, he worked his way up the ranks and eventually ended up fixing the ice cream vans. “I started off making the ice cream and then I was promoted to selling it,” said George. “After a time, I ended up working as a mechanic on the vans in the summer and got my hands dirty when the vehicles broke down,” he added.

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George’s career has been extensive and incredibly varied ever since: “After my time working with the ice cream vans, I moved into the printing industry as a young apprentice specialising in thermographic printing. When another company bought us out, I decided I didn’t want to relocate,” said George. “I then moved into the building trade as a labourer, before entering the industry that I’m in today.”

When George first joined the bus industry, he started out with Greater Manchester (GM) Buses. “Since then I’ve seen a lot of changes,” he said.

Hands on and hardworking
George has been with Belle Vue for eight years now, and still loves every minute of his job: “When Belle Vue bought King Coaches, I was a driver on their contract with Manchester Grammar School and decided to stay on. Around a year after Belle Vue took over, having seen the potential in me, the directors promoted me, and it all progressed from there.”

When talking about his approach to work George said that he’s very hands on and likes to get the job done: “I won’t ask someone to do something that I’m not prepared to do myself, that’s the way I was brought up. My work ethic is very much centralised around that core belief.”

Day-to-day the role of Transport Supervisor is incredibly diverse, and George fulfils the roles of driving, fuelling, repairing, training, negotiating, co-ordinating and organising, to name but a few of his duties. “I cover everything,” said George. “You name it, I do it. When people ask me a question, I always try and provide them with an answer, and if I can’t personally, I ensure that they get their answer another way and make sure the works gets done.”

Speaking of his favourite aspect of the job George said: “Every day is different, there’s always something interesting going on and I love a challenge.” Even after all these years George remains enthusiastic about the work that he does: “I always say to my missus, the day I don’t get up before my alarm at 0500hrs, is the day its time to pack it in. I love my job and look forward to what each new day brings.”

The excitement of unpredictability
I asked him what his motivation is behind the early starts. George responded: “You never know what you will be walking into on any given day. Even before I get out of my car in the morning, I have drivers knocking on my window – because they know I’ll help them out. That’s what I enjoy, helping people. It’s part of who I am.”

When I asked George what the most difficult aspect of the job is, true to character, he responded with only positive things to say and concerning the early starts, which most would dread, he said: “They don’t bother me, and the dog gets the benefit with a nice early morning walk!”

The big win
When George was nominated for the Unsung Hero award, it was his second time, having previously secured silver in the awards the year prior. I enquired how it felt to finally scoop gold and be recognised for his tireless work and dedication: “It was brilliant, I was dead chuffed. When my name was called out, I couldn’t quite believe it. I lifted the trophy in the air but was honestly in disbelief,” said George. “To be recognised like that, nationally, in front of so many for my hard work was wonderful. Belle Vue are a great company to work for, and always ensure that enthusiasm and diligence are acknowledged.”

Speaking about the rest of the night, George said: “The night itself was superb, and I got the chance to speak to other people in the industry and compare experiences and tell stories. It was a great night for feedback and reminiscing.”

Staying positive
Outside of work, George enjoys outdoor activities, often undertaking walking and hiking expeditions. “Last year, myself and others undertook the challenge of Snowden.” He went onto explain how he and other parents raised money for the burnt down Stalybridge Mill which housed the cheerleading group that his daughter coaches.

“We had to start from scratch,” he said, “but in the end we raised the money and the girls ended up succeeding and travelled to the US to compete, the only UK cheerleading team to do so.”

In terms of personal challenges, George has got a lot going on behind his smiling and outgoing persona, with two siblings battling cancer, however he stays positive and doesn’t let negativity cloud his outlook on life: “You just have to get on with it, and try and stay positive for everyone.”

Speaking about the future, George, said: “Hopefully it’s bright, all being well. There’s no point looking back. Who knows maybe I’ll take over Phil’s job as Director,” he chuckled.

In an ever-changing industry, that faces challenges when it comes to patronage, the introduction of Ultra Low Emission Zones, Low Emissions Zones and economic struggles, it is reassuring to know that there are passionate, hardworking and enthusiastic people like George, carrying the industry.