Birthday honours for two SWR colleagues

Monday 19th June 2023
Spilt screen image - Teresa Pearson on left, Jeffery Fry on right
  • Two SWR colleagues receive the British Empire Medal
  • Teresa Pearson for leading the SWR team at Windsor for The Late Queen’s State Funeral
  • Jeffery Fry for 62 years continuous service to the railway

South Western Railway (SWR) is very proud that two colleagues have been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in The King’s Birthday Honours List 2023 (His Majesty’s first such list).

Teresa Pearson, Ascot Station Manager, has received her award for services to the State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Jeffrey Fry, Meet and Greet Host at London Waterloo station, for services to the railway industry. SWR is delighted that their service has been recognised by His Majesty.

Teresa was SWR’s lead manager at Windsor & Eton Riverside station for The Queen’s State Funeral, heading up a team of 40 SWR colleagues and 30 agency staff on the day. She was on hand and leading the team for the whole event.

Her involvement with Operation London Bridge started nearly five years before the death of Her Late Majesty and she worked with multiple agencies during that time in preparation. She was a key point of contact externally for the Royal Household, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, and the national media.

Her primary responsibility was the practical and safe delivery of the event, but she was also determined to create a welcoming environment for the expected crowds that would be using the station during the period of Lying-in-State and the day of the funeral. This included decorating the station with flower baskets, memorial banners and arranging for British Transport Police officers to hang a large Union Flag at the station, as well as replanting station flower beds at night as she felt that that task was part of her personal responsibilities.

She led the operation with pride, professionalism and appropriate respect throughout. Her connection to the station and the station’s connection to the Royal Family was part of the reason that she took on the role. During her time at the station Teresa assisted Royal Train movements – often late at night or at weekends - and these connections explain why she felt it was her absolute duty to make SWR’s response at Windsor & Eton Riverside station the best that it could be

After the funeral, Teresa received a message from the Royal Household which thanked her for her dedication and service to Her Late Majesty but this award is a special recognition for her work in ensuring that such a solemn occasion was marked appropriately at the closest station to Windsor Castle.

Teresa says:

“I am walking around grinning like a Cheshire cat, I feel very honoured and very proud. 

“But also this is not just about me, I carry this for my team and my colleagues because without them I would not be me.

“I may work for SWR, but the Queen and the Royal Family were my customers and she deserved the best I could give.”

Jeffery Fry joined the railway in 1961, making him the longest serving employee on the South Western route. He has spent most of his career on the platforms at London Waterloo station, having started as a Junior Porter for British Rail at the age of 15 and taking up his latest role as a meet and greet host at the age of 65.

Owing to the impressive longevity of his career, Jeffery enjoys bragging rights of being SWR’s employee number 000001 - something he is really proud of.

Throughout his 62 years of service Jeff has been a role model to many of his colleagues, setting the highest standards and always putting his customers first. His positive outlook and attitude have a direct impact on the team around him, helping them to deliver excellent customer service. He is always wearing a big smile on his face, and he greets everybody.

SWR is very pleased that such a long career of delivering outstanding customer service has received greater recognition.

Jeffrey says:

“I’m deeply honoured to have been given such an award – it was a very big surprise to be nominated for one. I’m very pleased and I’m very much looking forward to more years working on the railway with my customers at Waterloo.”

Claire Mann, SWR’s Managing Director, added:

“SWR is absolutely delighted and hugely proud that two of our colleagues that have given such excellent service to customers have been recognised with honours in The King’s very first Birthday Honours List.

“Both Teresa, for her hard work in making sure that Windsor and Eton Riverside station was prepared to greet the many people who visited it at that sad time, and Jeffery, for his years of devoted service to the railway and to the people who pass through London Waterloo station, thoroughly deserve these awards and I would like to congratulate them on behalf of all of their South Western Railway colleagues”.