Sheffield patrolman is king of the roads

Mark Spowage is the AA's patrol man of the year.
Mark Spowage is the AA's patrol man of the year.

A Sheffield mechanic has hit top gear after being crowned Patrol of the Year at the AA Employee Awards.

Mark Spowage, of Ringwood Road, Sothall, beat off stiff competition from patrols across the UK to pick up the prestigious title – the AA’s top accolade for its roadside patrols across the UK.

Mark accelerated into first place after coming top in a gruelling judging process which included intensive technical and driving tests, a panel interview and mock live television interviews.

The 39-year-old’s win was announced during a special awards evening in South Wales. Mark described the event as both ‘nerve racking’ and ‘breathtaking’.

He said: “The judges do all the scoring in private so myself and the other four finalists waited with bated breath. It was totally unexpected when they called my name – I couldn’t get up from my seat for a good few seconds.”

Mark took up the role of an AA patrol 14 years ago and says it’s the best job in the world despite landing him in some slippery situations over the years.

“Without doubt the oddest call out I’ve had was to an exotic dancer’s car where her pet snake had managed to get free and slither up into the roof lining.

“I’m not keen on snakes so banged on the roof to get it out and let her capture it!”

Mark said the unpredictable British weather is his biggest challenge.

But it never puts the brakes on his enthusiasm to reach and rescue stranded drivers across the north of the country.

“There’s no better feeling than going to people in stressful situations and seeing them drive away with a smile on their face – it’s like a personal mission to improve people’s days.”

As Patrol of the Year Mark will become the public face of the AA for the next 12 months, representing the motoring organisation within the motor industry and before the media – a role he’s all revved up for.

Mark said: “I’ll be doing everything from business events to TV and radio interviews which I can’t wait for – I just want to get going.”

Steve Dewey, AA road operations director and former patrol, said: “Our patrols like to say they fix the member first, then the car, and Mark typifies these values that set AA patrols apart.

“His award is due credit for his service to members at the roadside and he’s a fantastic ambassador for the company.”