Following a challenging assessment day at Bott Ltd in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Sam Burton of Wayfair has been crowned Logistics UK’s Van Driver of the Year 2021. Mr Burton – who is based in Leicestershire – made it a double success, also being named as Logistics UK’s Van Excellence Driver, a category open only to certified operators of the business group’s Van Excellence scheme.  

Logistics UK has long celebrated van drivers as the unsung heroes of our economy and with more than four million van drivers currently operating on the UK’s roads, these awards are the perfect opportunity to formally recognise the best in the industry. Kevin Green, Marketing and Communications Director at Logistics UK comments:  

“Van drivers are the backbone of the UK economy, serving the needs of the nation continuously through online doorstop deliveries, essential utility services and the delivery of vital goods needed by schools, businesses and hospitals. The role of a van driver is challenging and complex; drivers must work safely and efficiently while navigating sometimes challenging road spaces and various pressures, such as time and the lifting of potentially awkward goods.  

“While we are extremely proud to recognise van drivers each year, this time we are especially delighted to celebrate and raise awareness of the sector that has worked so hard to meet the needs of the nation throughout this pandemic. Van drivers have shown incredible determination and professionalism throughout these challenging times and Logistics UK is thrilled to celebrate these talented individuals. All participating drivers have shown exceptional skill throughout the day’s challenges and should be very proud of their achievements.”  

During the assessment day, held 10 July 2021, 12 shortlisted individuals – drivers from The British Shop, G4S Manchester, Alliance Healthcare, Wayfair, Alloga UK, SMS PLC, VOW Europe, Truline and Greencore – took part in a series of theoretical and practical challenges aimed at testing their driving skills, legislative knowledge and vehicle defect identification.

Winner, Mr Burton, comments: “I am delighted to be named as Logistics UK’s Van Driver of the Year. There have been so many talented and dedicated drivers here today and it is amazing to have beaten off such skilled competition. I love my role as a van driver and have worked tirelessly over the past year to learn and continuously improve, to ensure I uphold the high standards of the van sector. This has been a difficult period both within the industry, and across the nation and it feels wonderful to be recognised for the work that we do.   

“Wayfair’s participation in the Van Excellence scheme has allowed me to understand the good practices required of a van driver,” continued winner Mr Burton. “It is such a well-respected scheme across industry and I am thrilled to also be awarded Logistics UK’s Van Excellence Driver title. I would like to thank my manager Rajka Vukovic-Hewitt and Wayfair for their constant encouragement and guidance, as well as Logistics UK for providing me with this platform to showcase my abilities.”  

Second place was awarded to Jim Valentine of The British Shop, with Tomasz Niemiec of Greencore securing third place. Additional awards were also presented to winners of particular skills tasks:  

  • Safe Driving Style, sponsored by Quartix: Tomasz Niemiec of Greencore 
  • Economical Driving, sponsored by Hertz: Douglas Smith of Alloga UK 
  • Legislative Knowledge, sponsored by Lex Autolease: Jim Valentine of The British Shop 
  • Manoeuvring, sponsored by Brigade Electronics: Tomasz Niemiec of Greencore 
  • Pre-use defect checks, sponsored by AA: Douglas Smith of Alloga UK 
  • Risk assessment, sponsored by TVL: Jim Valentine of The British Shop 

A presentation took place on the day where winners were awarded their well-deserved trophies. Prizes included a holiday voucher, a GoPro and Amazon Vouchers.   

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit  

By Alison