Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our own local Olympian

Back from summer holiday just in time to give a big cheer for the extremely cheering London 2012 Olympic Games and offer a special tribute to our own local Olympian, Mortlake station-master Daniel Opoku.

Daniel carried the torch in the relay on 22 July from Erith to Bexley - then, he says, handing it on to Lennox Lewis - and he's the winner of three national awards for public service. He even puts in an appearance, by name, in my Rites of Spring, something that's noted on the station poster celebrating his participation in the relay. Were there an Olympic race for kindness, helpfulness, taking pride in your work and brightening the day of everyone you see, this man would take gold. He has become a local hero simply by being A  Wonderful Person.

Here's what South West Trains says about him:
Daniel Opoku has worked for South West Trains for 17 years and was put forward to participate as a torchbearer because of his passion and commitment to customer service. Daniel Opoku, commented: “Being a part of the global showcase is very exciting as the Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world. I feel jubilant about being put forward to participate in this historic event and have been walking and jogging in Erith to prepare for the big day.”
As well as helping customers plan their journeys, making announcements and maintaining the ticket machines at his station, Daniel Opoku knows many of his customers by name and thrives on giving his customers a warm welcome. Over the years, Daniel Opoku has received a number of prestigious accolades for his outstanding customer service skills; National Railways Employee of the Year (2000), Personality of the Year (2000) and Frontline Customer Service Professional of the Year (2008) are just three examples.
And here's a recommendation for anyone in or visiting London who wants to sample the city's best scenic views: a handy new guidebook to some capital vistas has just been published. It's Skyline London, written by Blue Badge guide Caroline Dale. I've lived in London all my life, but there are spectacular views in this book that I've never seen before, and as soon as the crowds calm down a bit I'll be off to sample some. Caroline shows you where to go for the best ones and presents an expert explanation of what you see when you get there. Plus plenty of photographs and maps to whet the appetite. Skyline London is available from Amazon, here.