Badminton ace who’s been serving his community and Severn Trent customers for more than 40 years

27th June 2024

He’s the badminton ace who’s been serving Severn Trent customers and his community for more than 40 years.

And modest Shamsu Uddin looked back on his incredible achievements as one the water company’s longest serving employees and said: “My dad used to say if you enjoy your job, then stick with it. I do and have!”

The father-of-seven has clocked up some 41 years at Severn Trent, where he now works as a veteran retailer and customer service advisor at the Coventry HQ of the water company, which serves the East and West Midlands.

And both at and away from work, the England and Warwickshire badminton coach has led an extraordinary life of helping others.

This included teaching children badminton as part of his life-long role with the Bidgley Power Foundation, a Birmingham charity which helps support and inspire youngsters at the ‘margins of society’.

“I was a pretty good badminton player and played for my county,” said Aston Villa fan Shamsu, who lives minutes away from his beloved Villa Park.

“I’ve also always enjoyed coaching and have been working with the charity for around 40 years helping teach children. Some are disabled, others may be in care, some just want to learn about a sport which teaches them all about the importance of team-work, as well as helping their fitness.

“Seeing the joy in their faces when they manage to hit the shuttlecock for the first time makes me very happy as it means everything to them. I just want to keep giving back to my community.”

Shamsu has also served his country, spending 12 years in the Territorial Army when he rose to rank of corporal. He was among medics who treated those injured in the Falklands War in 1983.

“I was based at Aldershot and was helping deal with casualties flown back from the Falklands,” recalled Shamsu, who has also previously worked as a Citizen’s Advice volunteer.

“Some had been shot, some had suffered burns and they were all very brave people.

“I loved my TA career as I also travelled to places like Germany, France, Italy and Morocco – you really got to see the world.”

He began his Severn Trent career in the same year as the Falklands War, working in customer services and later moving into credit control. Both roles saw him dealing directly with customers, something he loves to this day.

“Our customers have always been central to everything we do,” he said. “I love speaking and dealing with them, trying to help where I can and solve any issues.” 

Shamsu moved jobs to Coventry after the new city centre HQ opened. He is a part of the Wholesale Market Unit team which works closely with business water retailer Water Plus, which was set up by Severn Trent and United Utilities in 2016.

Water Plus has more than 700,000 business customer supply points with them in England and Scotland, who can benefit from expert water and wastewater services and water-saving advice. This includes water audits to see where water can be saved at business sites and the public sector, which can also lower bills.

Shamsu, who works mainly with wholesale business customers, said: “My job is very varied. I help to arrange new metres for businesses or replace old ones and send inspectors out to do readings when needed.

“As we are very customer focused, sometimes in my role I deal directly with customers. Sometimes that means solving issues for them, and helping them get a good outcome, this is very satisfying and rewarding.”

Shamsu looked back on his own career as Severn Trent celebrates its 50th anniversary. A series of articles are planned, titled: “Our people, proudly serving our region for 50 years.”

Severn Trent has played its own part in helping people in marginalised sections of society, with initiatives like the Big Boost for Brum jobs fair and staff mentoring young offenders through the Trailblazers charity.

Shamsu , 64, said: “I’m so proud of the way the company has grown over the years. It was just a water company when I first joined, but it’s now so much more than that.

“And I’ve had some great team mates over years; good teams are teams that helps each other. But many have become far more than team-mates to me – they are family to me.”

So does the former Aston Manor pupil have any looming plans to call it a day and enjoy retirement with his growing family and wife Nessa, who he married more than 30 years ago

“Oh no,” he laughed. “I want to get to 70 first - then I’ll consider it.”