Gary Bellamy (pictured) from Forterra Building Products has been named the Lifetime Achievement winner in this year's Microlise Driver of The Year Awards.

The nomination-based awards received more entries than ever before and telematics-based categories contained an initial eligible pool of over 225,000 drivers.

The 2020 winners triumphed after a process of rigorous data analysis, corroboration by employers and assessment by an independent judging panel.

Bellamy was just 15 when he joined the Transport Department of London Brick Company (now a part of Forterra Building Products Ltd) as an apprentice mechanical engineer. He passed his HGV driving test and became part of a team responsible for going out to vehicles that needed repairing or recovering. In 1981, Garry took the opportunity to become a full-time delivery driver and has remained one ever since.

Microlise said Bellamy had experienced a lot of change during his 39-year driving career - and during his 50-plus years with Forterra - and has worked to continuously improve and upgrade his skills.

When he first started driving, trucks were equipped with little more than a crash gearbox and a steering wheel. Today technology plays a central role via telematics, driving style analysis and engine management systems. He has adapted to all these changes and has remained a popular and highly dependable team member throughout.

Other award winners included Dimka Ivanova from Boughey Distribution who was named Most Improved Driver.

Ivanova only joined Boughey Distribution a little over a year ago but was said to have already demonstrated a 100% improvement in driving performance. According to her operations director, she is currently delivering a level of improved fuel usage that is exceptional for a day driver.

She is described as conscientious and calm, taking everything in her stride, and makes full use of the flexibility of a driving career to suit her lifestyle and childcare needs.

The Driver Excellence Award, which is based on driver data captured from in-truck telematic systems, went to Hovis Logistics.

The independent judging panel this year included RHA chief executive Richard Burnett; the former Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken; board advisor to London Ambulance Service and Transport Focus, Theo De Pencier; Dougie Rankine, editor, Road Transport Media; and executive director of Microlise, Bob Harbey.

“The standard of entries was simply outstanding and a true credit to all those nominated," Harbey said. "All of our shortlisted drivers could have been worthy winners. Although for many, it has regrettably taken a global crisis to highlight the critical role of drivers, it remains our privilege to take part in recognising the best HGV drivers who perform their role with such commitment and expertise and literally keep our economy moving.”