A bus driver recognised in the New Year Honours for more than 40 years of service to his local community has said the award “won’t change” him.
Cornel Grant, currently based at Sharston Depot in Manchester, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his extensive fundraising work and efforts in organising local events.
The 68-year-old served in the Royal Fusiliers for six years, completing three tours in Northern Ireland, before joining Stagecoach in 1982.
“It’s still not really sunk in,” said Mr Grant.
“People have been asking me how it’s going to change me and I’ve said it won’t, I just take each day as it comes.”
Known as Junior to his friends and colleagues, Mr Grant helped to set up the annual Moss Side Carnival in the 1970s and 1980s, before later being involved with the Anglo-Caribbean Domino League.
He also supports food banks and several charities, including the Message Trust – a Christian group – and Wood Street Mission, which both work to help children and young people, as well as Prevent Breast Cancer and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.
Remembrance services at the War Memorial at Sharston Depot are assisted by Mr Grant and he also supports special events, including by co-ordinating Stagecoach services for Manchester’s Parklife Festival.
His work has helped to raise more than £53,000 for Stagecoach Manchester’s charity partners.
In 2013 Mr Grant helped to organise the donation of a decommissioned bus to the Moss Gardens Project, to be used as a meeting space for the local community on the former site of the Stagecoach Princess Road Depot – where he originally worked for the company – and in 2012 he supported the UK Olympic Torch Relay.
“My proudest moment was being involved in the Olympic Torch Relay in 2012, I got to meet a lot of celebrities, including Jamie Oliver who was on my bus, and he even recognised me in the stadium,” said Mr Grant.
“I’m really pleased to have helped Stagecoach raise a lot of money for our charity partners in Manchester and that will continue – it’s really important for me.”
Lee Wasnidge, managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, said: “We are all really proud of Junior for this amazing commendation. His encouragement, help and assistance to the many people he deals with is second to none.
“He is a real ambassador and an all-round exemplary citizen who has helped make Manchester a better place, with his years of community service in the Moss Side area and his help and assistance in keeping things moving in our business to keep buses on the road and people on the move.
“He is a true legend and all of his colleagues will be delighted at Junior receiving this well-deserved recognition.”