One of Elstree & Borehamwood's most beloved figures has been recognised for his dedication and outstanding customer service.

Commuters will be very familiar with the friendly face of Siggy Cragwell who has been helping passengers at Elstree & Borehamwood station for 18 years.

While most of us are tucked at home, Siggy, even at the age of 80, is up at 4am getting ready for his five shift at 6am.

And after 58 years in total on the railway, the Barbados-born cricket-mad station assistant has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award which was presented at the virtual National Rail Awards.

Siggy was nominated by Thameslink passenger Nigel Gale, who said: "Siggy is a beloved dispatcher at Elstree & Borehamwood station during the morning peak, and although I try to speak to him daily, he has become so popular that even getting a couple of moments to say hello is becoming difficult.

"He is such a warm and friendly gentleman, always ‘can-do’, regardless of the situation, always making it clear to customers that he is on their side, which makes them valued and helps to vent frustration when things go wrong."

Borehamwood Times:

Siggy, who is Thameslink's oldest member of staff, came to Britain from Barbados aged 23 as part of the Windrush generation, sailing into Southampton in March 1962 and starting work as a cleaner in Marylebone station in central London the very next day.

Siggy stayed at Marylebone for 17 years, working as a fireman, stoking steam engines, and a chargeman, supervising cleaners and the men who shunted the trains around the yard.

He was then promoted to supervisor at Cricklewood Yard where he also shunted trains himself.

Siggy's railway career then took him to Bedford and Luton before he was given the role as platform supervisor at St Albans City station for 12 years.

Then, Siggy made the switch to Elstree & Borehamwood where he remains.

He said: "I used to see passengers coming through the station when they were seven or eight. Now they are big men or women, taller than me, with children of their own.

"What I like is mixing with people and conversing with them, getting to know them. I have hundreds of friends and I don’t even know their names. Even the youngest come looking for me."

Borehamwood Times:

Siggy with co-worker Paul Green at Elstree & Borehamwood station. Credit: Bob Redman

Station manager at Elstree & Borehamwood, Marc Asamoah, said: "Siggy has been a wonderful colleague to manage and is the definition of exceeding expectations for customer service.

"Every time I am trying to get a 1-2-1 with him, there are always customers around him wanting to talk to him; that is how loved he is."

It is not just the railways that Siggy loves.

He's actually an England cricketer, even at 80, with 14 caps for the England over-70's.

The all-rounder, who lives in Hampstead, first started playing the sport in England where he joined the British Railways League in the 1960s, before switching to Gordon Hill’s BRSA Enfield Club,

now known as Holtwhites & Trinibis.

He says the proudest moment of his cricketing career was being on the winning side of the Transport Cricket Cup in the late 1980s.

Borehamwood Times:

A testimonial cricket match took place to recognise Siggy in 2019

Siggy has another surprise in his locker - after his shifts at the station, he goes to the gym to practice Tai Chi and Taekwondo, which helps keep him fit for cricket.

Bob Redman, part of First Impressions, a project highlighting Elstree & Borehamwood's illustrious film history, said: "Over the years, Siggy has become the best- known friendly face at our station.

"I knew Siggy before I knew his name; he was always happy to assist me and any other passenger, a voice of calm on Platform One.

"Siggy’s ‘fan club’ is legendary and he can often be found surrounded by passengers who just want to say, ‘Hello’.

"In 2018 when we celebrated the 150th anniversary of our local rail service, it was clear that we needed to include Siggy in our documentary video."