A CO-OP milkman who was slashed across his face by a knife-wielding assailant while driving his milk float has been honoured by Midlands Society.
Burton milkman Brian Pickering received a special ?Service Excellence' award in recognition of his bravery and dedication to duty after being attacked while delivering milk in Overseal.
The incident happened in April and despite spending three hours in the casualty department of Derbyshire Royal Infirmary where medical staff stitched a deep facial wound stretching from his ear to the corner of his mouth, Brian returned to work the following day.
Brian (57) said: "If I had left work, I knew I would have felt worse. I didn't want the person who stabbed me to win, so going straight back to work was a way for me to win. The thought of giving up this job after 32 years was unthinkable.
"After the attack, I heard I had been nominated for the award, but I didn't expect to win ? I'm overwhelmed, really. The incident was very scary, but you just have to carry on."
Midlands Co-op Society launched the staff initiative last year to recognise employees who know what customer service is all about ? because they put it into practice.
Brian is one of eight members of staff chosen to receive an award in the first quarter for 2004 from nominations submitted by fellow staff, members and internal/external customers.
The popular roundsman was nominated in four separate categories, but it was the way he dealt with being mugged and slashed with a knife while on his milk round that attracted the judges' attention.
Even on the day of the attack, his first thoughts were with his customers and he made sure that they had all received their deliveries.
Midlands Co-op Chief Executive Willie Tucker said: "My sincere congratulations go to all eight winners, who have been nominated in the first round of our 2004 Service Excellence programme. They are a credit to the society as they have shown determination to meet and exceed customer expectations."
Each Service Award winner receives £ 100 Co-op gift vouchers, a Service Award certificate and a choice of champagne or flowers.
Tracey Orr, Midlands Co-op's Culture and Service manager, commented: "We have been overwhelmed by the response to our awards. Last year we received 1,300 nominations in total.
"However, we have received 1,200 nominations in the first three months of the 2004 awards alone, which we are absolutely thrilled with. The service awards are about acknowledging and rewarding effort and achievement in our staff, but also about providing a formal way to say thank you for a good job well-done.`
? A 27-year-old male was arrested in connection with the attack on Brian Pickering. He has been released on bail pending further inquiries.