UK

Legendary station worker, 82, who gets up for work at 4am shortlisted for award

An 82-year-old station assistant who has been working on the railway ever since he came to England 59 years ago has been nominated for a lifetime achievement award.

Siggy Cragwell is one of the most well-known and loved faces on the Thameslink line and he has been helping passengers at Elstree & Borehamwood station since 2002.

His dedication has now seen him shortlisted for an award in the national Heart of Gold awards run by the Railway Benefit Fund.

The winner will be chosen via an online public vote which is open until November 7.

Station manager Marc Asamoah said: “Siggy has been a wonderful colleague to manage and is the definition of exceeding expectations for customer service. Every time I’m trying to get a one-to-one with him, there are always customers around him wanting to talk to him; that is how loved he is.

“Despite his age, Siggy is always pro-active, always wanting to help and ensuring the station is well looked after. I have managed Siggy for three years now and I could not think of a member of my team who has supported me more in taking care of Elstree and Borehamwood station.”

Thameslink’s oldest member of staff wakes up at 4am to do the 6-11am shift as a station assistant at Elstree & Borehamwood, before venturing to the gym to practise Tai Chi and Taekwondo which allows him to keep himself fit for his main sporting love: cricket.

In his cricket career he started playing as an all-rounder for the British Railways League in the 1960s before joining Gordon Hill’s BRSA Enfield Club, now known as Holtwhites & Trinibis.

Siggy went on to play for London University, and later a Thames TV XI, and has 14 international caps to his name, batting and bowling for the England Over-70s.

In one memorable season eight years ago, his side played Australia in three two-day tests and won all three.

A testimonial cricket match took place to recognise Siggy in 2019

Siggy, who has held various roles within the industry, had plans to leave the railway scene but his retirement at the age of 65 lasted just four weeks.

He said: “I was never a pub man, a smoker or a betting shop man so there was nothing for me to do. I play a lot of cricket, sometimes three times a week, and I think if I can do that I can work. I can’t sit at home and do nothing.”

Thameslink passenger Nigel Gale said of Siggy: “Siggy is a beloved personality at Elstree & Borehamwood station during the morning peak, and although I try to speak to him daily, he has become so popular that even getting a couple of moments to say hello is becoming difficult.

“He’s such a warm and friendly gentleman, always ‘can-do’, regardless of the situation, always making it clear to customers that he is on their side, which makes them valued and helps to vent frustration when things go wrong.”

This Is Local London:

Bob Redman, of Elstree Screen Heritage, added: “I knew Siggy before I knew his name; he was always happy to assist me and any other passenger, a voice of calm on Platform One! Siggy’s ‘fan club’ is legendary and he can often be found surrounded by passengers who just want to say ‘hello’.”

Readers can support Siggy in his quest to win the Railway Benefit Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award by clicking here.


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