West Croydon bus station controller given MBE for bravery during riots
A BUS station controller who braved rioters to defend his station and help passengers has been appointed an MBE.
Nana Nyarko has made the New Year's Honours List for his bravery and commitment while working at West Croydon bus station on August 8, 2011.
The father-of-two, from Thornton Heath, said this week: "It is surprising and exciting, being recognised and honoured for a job I was sent to do."
Mr Nyarko, who works as a controller at Crystal Palace, Addington and Kingston bus stations, as well as West Croydon, defied police advice to go home as riots spread through Croydon.
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The 52-year-old said: "I thought the best thing for me to do was to get people out of the station. I told drivers, 'I am sure the riot is coming this way, so we should move the buses out of the way'.
"Then I was able to direct passengers to the next bus station. But I could not just close the station and go home; I had to protect it."
My Nyarko stayed on site, warding off youths who were gathering outside.
He said: "Whenever the kids moved to one side of the station, I followed them.
"I am a bus controller and it is my duty to maintain my station."
Mr Nyarko left when his shift finished at 10pm, and was stunned the next day to see the devastation around the town centre.
He said: "When I saw Reeves Corner I was just so disappointed. I just could not get my mind around it."
Mr Nyarko worked as a distributor for a retailer before becoming a bus controller in 2004, and says the best part of the job is helping people.
He said: "When people are lost, or looking for something, and you can calm them down and give them directions, that is the best part."
He said he was not sure who nominated him for the honour, but that his family - wife Rosemond, and two sons, aged 21 and 26 - were "very proud".