Ian Watson, 39, TPE Driver and Andy's Man Club member, boards the newly wrapped train for its inaugural journey

South Yorkshire man wins national award for raising awareness about men’s mental health

A South Yorkshire man has won a national award for his work advocating for men’s mental health.  

Ian Watson, a TransPennine Express (TPE) Driver Manager from Sheffield won the Adeline Ginn Unsung Hero of the Year category at the annual Women in Rail awards.  

One of five shortlisted for the accolade, Ian’s dedication to encouraging men to talk to each other to get through times of adversity, both in the workplace and at home, impressed the judging panel.  

Ian’s work has supported Andy’s Man Club – with the train operator unveiling a specially wrapped train dedicated to the mental health charity last year. The Class 185 train is visible throughout the north, encouraging people to seek help when they need it. 

Ian said: "I’m extremely humbled to have been nominated for this award through Women in Rail. The biggest problem we face is that men still believe it’s ‘weak’ to seek help, or they’re embarrassed to do so. Support from our female colleagues, relatives and friends is essential to encourage men to be open about how they feel and realise that suicide is not the solution to whatever problem they may face." 

TPE’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Harriet Harbidge, was also shortlisted in two categories. Harriet was up against leading women in the rail industry in both the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Individual, and Female Rising Star Award categories.  

Nicola Buckley, People Director at TransPennine Express, said: “We are thrilled to see Ian recognised for his amazing work to raise awareness for men’s mental health. 

“He has had a huge impact on his colleagues and the wider business and is dedicated to ending the stigma around mental health and getting people to talk. We are so proud of him.”   

The train operator was also shortlisted for Employer of the Year.  

The event took place at the Roundhouse in Camden, London on Thursday 16 May 2024. Hosted by Reverend Cannon Kate Bottley, the event saw hundreds of industry representatives come together to celebrate women in rail. 

Andy’s Man Club is a men’s charity offering free-to-attend peer-to-peer support groups across the United Kingdom and online.