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Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Aberdeen transport pioneer who designed easy low-access buses made MBE

Gordon Mills has been made an MBE for services to transport in the north-east.

An Aberdeen engineer who designed easy low-access buses to transform the lives of millions of people with disabilities across the world has been made an MBE.

Gordon Mills worked in the industry his entire life and arrived in the Granite City in 1986 to join the management team of Grampian Regional Transport.

The 72-year-old was director of engineering and was responsible for spearheading staff and vehicle safety, maintenance and training.

Career led to industry changes across world

Among the innovations he brought in, new materials were included to make the vehicles more resistant to fire.

He also engineered and designed the first easy low-access buses and other vehicles that are now common-place in Aberdeen and across the world.

He said: “I could see the way things were going with the need for accessibility, I saw they were needed, which has turned out to be right with the way things have gone.”

Mr Mills was among those who led a management employee buyout of Grampian Regional Transport, which is now known as First Group.

He was passionate about staff development and he trained young apprentices to become craftsmen, technicians and engineers.

Passion continues with heritage projects

Today he continues to enjoy his passion for transport as a chairman of the Aberdeen District Transport Preservation Trust and a trustee to the First Group Heritage Trust.

He was also trustee of the Grampian Transport Museum for nine years.

Mr Mills’ interest and passion for heritage vehicles led to him recovering and restoring a bus that had been designed for Aberdeen between the two world wars.

However, despite his contribution to the transport industry, which has been felt across the world, he confessed the honour still came as a complete shock.

He said: “It’s something I never thought about, or ever thought might happen. It’s an honour.

“We shouldn’t deride these things, often people do. It’s nice to get a bit of recognition in the later years of your life for what you’ve achieved.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my work in the bus industry, it covered more than I could possibly have imagined and I managed to steer it in the way I thought it was important.

“It’s great to be recognised for something I have enjoyed doing.”

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