The RailStaff Awards 2022

Nominations for Rail Person of the Year

Andrew Potter

Said the following about Pete Donnelly:

“CrossCountry is part of the bigger Arriva Group and one of the values that Arriva is so proud of is One Arriva, whereby any company that is owned by Arriva is working together and trying to ensure that we support each and every person that works for the organisation. Pete Donnelly epitomises this value. He has not only brought CrossCountry closer together he has enabled us to demonstrated how much better we are as one organisation.

Pete has been a Train Manager with CrossCountry for 17 Years and has always shown a level of dedication to the customers on the trains that he runs. He is always happy to help and support those around him. Football has always been a passion for Pete, he has always been part of a football team growing up. When he joined the railway he was able to persuade colleagues around him to join in a league, often bringing colleagues from all over CrossCountry to take part in games. However, his dream was to create an opportunity to bring different parts of the railway together in a tournament.

Pete has always been able to talk to different people both from within CrossCountry and also from different parts of the railway. Ten years ago, he decided to use the contacts that he had developed over the years and arrange a tournament in Birmingham. The first tournament brought people from both CrossCountry (stretching from Plymouth to Edinburgh) and teams from London Midland, Virgin and Network Rail.

Bearing in mind that his role as a Train Manager at the time was during a period that technology wasn’t as advanced as today, he wasn’t office based either, however he still managed to launch the XC Cup - a competition that was open to anyone that worked on the railway, an opportunity for keen amateur footballers who want to have a match with a little competitive fun added in. For the first few years Pete ran the cup in his spare time, doing all the logistical planning during his rest periods and when he could. Over the years’ the teams taking part have grown from the initial nine to a whopping thirty-four teams competing last year. With this the complexity of the competition has increased.

As teams’ taking part have increased Pete has managed to develop relationships within the organisation to persuade the Commercial Director to become the sponsor of the event. In addition, he has also obtained support from HR to develop the wellbeing element of the competition which included the introduction of St John’s Ambulance, physiotherapists and developing a more family friendly atmosphere with bouncy castles, facepainters and other fun activities. These elements have really made sure the competition continues to develop and grow each year. Pete has managed to ensure that the registration fee of £25 has remained to make the competition as easily accessible as possible, with CrossCountry covering the rest of the costs. It is Pete’s passion and dedication that guaranteed the success of the cup each year.

This year for the first time we had an international flavour with four teams from Arriva Europe taking part in the competition. This added to the atmosphere with participants’ commenting that this was the best XC Cup that they had ever been to. However, it has to be said that every year the feedback is that it has improved each and every year, this is solely down to the hard work and dedication that Pete has put in. It also shows how highly regarded Pete is as CrossCountry allow him free rein to make decisions about costs and what is needed to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible.

From humble beginnings to what is now is amazing and is seen by Arriva to be one of the major examples of cross group wellbeing events. The fact that it allows colleagues from rail and bus to get together and compete is testament to Pete’s organisation, enthusiasm and dedicated efforts. He has managed to persuade colleagues to take part and support this event with his enthusiasm rubbing off on them ensuring that each year the event gets bigger and better - for example this year saw more than 700 attend.

Pete truly is a truly inspiring Rail Person and I have no hesitation in recommending him for this award, without Pete this event would not be able to be run, he truly deserves industry recognition for all the work he has put in.“