EAST Coast Mail Line rail operator GNER has won an award from smokers' rights organisation Forest.

The group named GNER as Travel Operator of the Year after the company announced that, unlike other operators, it would retain a smoking coach on all its trains for the foreseeable future.

A Forest spokesman said: "We applaud a policy which GNER rightly believes is in the best interest of all its passengers."

Hollywood actor Johnny Depp was named as Smoker of the Year. Jo Gaffikin, of Forest, said: "What we like about Depp is the fact that, unlike most celebrity smokers, he doesn't feel a need to apologise for his habit."