Virgin Trains employee who intervened to stop the racist abuse of mum Sanaa Shahid and her four-year-old son has been honoured in a prestigious awards ceremony.

Matt Litton, 42, was commended in the Frontline Employee of the Year category at the Scottish Transport Awards, organised by Transport Times, where he was praised for “standing up to intolerance”.

His actions were praised by Sanaa, who said: “Matt’s actions restored my faith in humanity and gave my son and I immense comfort during a very difficult period.”

Matt, a Preston-based train manager, was working on a London to Glasgow service on December 29 when Sanaa and her son Zayn were subjected to racist abuse by fellow passenger Alexander MacKinnon.

Matt stepped in to prevent any further abuse from MacKinnon, ensuring he was taken from the train and arrested at Carlisle, and stayed with Sanaa and Zayn to offer comfort and reassurance.

Mackinnon later pleaded guilty to a Racially Aggravated Public Disorder offence and was fined more than £1000.

A career railway man, Matt was recruited as a trainee for British Rail in 1991 and has worked through in number of roles at Warrington, Wigan and Preston stations before taking on the job of Train Manager on Virgin Trains’ Anglo-Scottish route 15 years ago. He lives near Wigan with his wife and two children.


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