AN ENGINEER who designed major road schemes in County Durham has been named volunteer of the year at an event recognising excellence in the region.

Mike Gardiner, 74, was given the accolade at the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East awards.

Mr Gardiner, who was awarded an MBE in 2001, spent his career at Durham County Council’s engineering department, where he worked on the design and construction of major road schemes, as well as highways maintenance and transport engineering.

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He has also dedicated 41 years to ICE and its education programme, aimed at developing engineering skills in young people.

ICE has also created an award in his honour. The Mike Gardiner Cup will recognises outstanding company support for ICE education and inspiration initiatives in the region, and the inaugural winner was Hartlepool-based Seymour Civil Engineering.

He said: “To win one of the prestigious ICE North East awards was a great personal achievement for me, and I have been taken aback by the Institution’s decision to name a cup in my honour.

“I have dedicated many years to promoting the industry to the younger generations, who are the future and will be the ones tackling the world challenges we will face in the years to come.”

Penny Marshall, ICE regional director, said: “Mike is a true stalwart of our profession and has been a great advocate for the ICE in the North East.”