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BORIS JOHNSON sets out his road map to Covid recovery tomorrow.
He is expected to present a cautious vision for a brighter future and vow to try to make this the last lockdown.
? Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates…
Amazing Brits across the nation have been heping to beat this gastly virusCredit: Oliver Dixon – The Sun
But the key to unlocking will be the continued support of everyday people who, since last March, have been doing amazing things.
Everywhere you look, the pandemic has created heroes. In this, our fourth and final special Sun on Sunday pullout, we pay tribute to the ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
To Britain’s unsung army of pandemic heroes, we continues to salute you all.
I WOULD like to nominate the whole team and fabulous volunteers at CHASE LIGHTHOUSE, a voluntary organisation based in Cannock, Staffs. They have worked their socks off since the first lockdown last year. I’m proud of how many people in need they have helped and how far the organisation has come in that time. Deb Cartwright, Cannock, Staffs
I NEED to say well done to my partner MARK DAVIES. He works as a delivery driver and has been spending hours on the road to ensure we have enough money to get through the pandemic. Despite spending most of the day in his car, he is back out at weekends doing shopping trips for elderly neighbours and running errands. Nothing is ever too much trouble for him. Jackie Rawlings, Chorley, Lancs
MY lockdown hero is my partner DAVID CHATTER. He works as a paramedic and has had one day off since last March. He never complains and is always looking on the bright side of life. Rebecca Cavanagh, Basildon, Essex
I’D like to nominate RICHARD PARSONS. A nurse with a heart of gold who has gone above and beyond for his patients in the past year. Well done, Richard. Amy Monroe, Leyton, East London
AMY CHILTERN is a lockdown hero. She has raised thousands of pounds in our community to help groups who desperately need support. Well done Amy – and keep going. Margaret Brinter, Preston
St John aiding jabs roll-out
AN army of 30,500 ST JOHN AMBULANCE volunteers who have joined the vaccination drive are today given a huge pat on the back.
The unsung heroes, aged from 17 to 69, include teachers, pilots, sixth-form students and student doctors. All are helping administer the vaccine to the nation.
The charity’s CEO Martin Houghton-Brown compared their selfless efforts to sailors on the 850 heroic little ships of Dunkirk who answered a rallying cry to save hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers stranded in World War Two.
Hailing them as heroes, Martin said: “The vaccination programme is our moment of small boats. St John, supporting the NHS and working with wonderful volunteers from local communities across the country, are together bringing this vaccine to the nation in our hour of need.
“Through Hail Your Hero, I want to thank each and every one of our volunteers.”
Ben Fellowes, 30, from Maidstone, Kent, is a trainee doctor, working shifts at a South London A&E department and yet he still volunteers, vaccinating people.
He said: “Up until now, we have been on the defensive — focused on trying to slow the spread and protect the NHS from being overwhelmed. And now we are making headway in fighting it with the biggest vaccine roll-out in history. Every single jab is potentially a life saved.”
Sixth-form student and St John Ambulance Cadet Of The Year Luke Stevenson, 17, of Hinckley, Leics, is one of the youngest volunteers and has been meeting those getting jabs.
He said: “I’m hoping my grandparents will be having it soon so I’ll be able to give them a hug again — there are families around the nation who all feel the same. We’re doing our bit to help that happen.”
Student Caitlin Jackson, 20, one of the youngest St John Ambulance vaccinators, added: “The vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel.”
I WOULD like to say a massive thank you to LIBERTY JAMBOREE, an organisation supporting people across Staffordshire. For the past year they have Zoom-called my special needs adult daughter, who is clinically extremely vulnerable. This way, she has been able to see her friends and have fun. The team has gone above and beyond in such a difficult time. Thank you! Nadine Stanyer, Burntwood, Staffs
I WANT to say how much I love my partner EVELYN FERMIN. She is a senior carer at a care home. She works 12-hour shifts and never complains. She is my hero. We were to be married on February 9 but it was postponed due to the pandemic. Roy Coomes, Cheshunt, Herts
I’D like to thank all the staff at NEW CROSS HOSPITAL ICU in Wolverhampton for helping my daughter to recover from Covid-19. Peter Davies, Wolverhampton
A SHOUT out to ANGELA ROBERTS, an amazing mum and a caring and hardworking nurse who is giving her all in this pandemic. Your family love you loads. Adam Roberts, Brentwood, Essex
I WOULD like to thank the staff at B. TAYLOR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES at Stafford’s Indoor Market for delivering to the vulnerable in our community throughout this pandemic. Laura Osborn, Wolverhampton
I WOULD love to thank the staff at EVELINE DAY NURSERY in Raynes Park for taking such good care of our little ones in these challenging times. Victoria Brown, Raynes Park, South London
MY unsung hero during lockdown is DAVE TENNANT, our friendly, local delivery man who has served us well in lockdown. While we’ve been at home, Dave has been busy delivering our online orders. Such a nice man. Caroline Gipton, Great Wyrley, Staffs
I WOULD like to thank all my family and my GRANDCHILDREN for helping me through lockdown as I lost my husband in 2020, just before the lockdown, and I was living on my own. My family all rallied together to make sure that I was OK. Julie Stenhouse, Berwick On Tweed, Northumberland
MY lockdown hero is my husband ANDY WHEELER. He works as a hospital porter and has been doing extra hours since March to keep the hospital going. He’s amazing. Mary Wheeler, Preston
I WANT to thank the staff at YAFFLE AND BURWOOD NURSING HOME in Broadstone, Dorset. The managers and all the staff that work there have been so supportive of each other throughout the past year. Louise Christopher, Broadstone, Dorset
I WOULD like to thank my daughter LISA KEIGHLEY and all her staff at BLAKEHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL in Bradford. They have all worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, even keeping the school open throughout the school holidays so the children’s key-worker parents can continue to work. It has been a really difficult time for them and all teachers. Jean Chippendale, Bradford
Gherkin dishes up 3,000 free meals
THE staff of a restaurant have been hailed “Covid heroes” after they dished out more than 3,000 free meals to help those in lockdown.
THE GHERKIN, a vegetarian eatery in Levenshulme, Manchester, decided to chip in and aid their community, especially people hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic.
Owner Jamie Whittaker, 40, and his 14-strong team worked tirelessly to provide 3,360 vegetarian meals, 1,120 desserts and 72 Christmas food parcels to struggling locals.
Jamie, who is from Levenshulme, yesterday paid tribute to his staff, saying: “We opened in June after the first lockdown but then had to adapt to restriction changes, so decided to make some dishes out of ingredients we had left so they didn’t go to waste.
“We managed to do it three times with the ingredients we had left and there were a lot of people in need. We had no income as a company and eventually ran out of the ingredients but the community noticed our efforts and offered money.
“Our customers and the wider community began contributing to pay for someone else’s meal. We raised £2,650. My whole team has been amazing. I am blessed to have them.”
The Gherkin managed to provide around 80 meals per week to people in need throughout Levenshulme.
The restaurant has now let a food bank make use of its space for free to help the community further, until it is able to reopen properly.
Jamie added: “The Gherkin will always be a place for the community and we will adapt to anything that happens in the future.”
THANK you to CLARE VOWLES for always caring for neglected and abandoned animals of all sizes. Clare works full-time, despite having young children and her own pets to look after. She still has time to look after and rehome lots of the animals and has set up a charity to raise funds for animals. Audrey Perkins, Wolverhampton
MY friends and I would like to thank SHELLEY AYRES, from Barnsley. She has put in so much hard work raising funds for various charities, especially during Covid-19 when times have been hard and they need help. She has made a real difference. Heather Atchinson, Barnsley
I NOMINATE ELIZABETH BURNS and ONE VISION in Watford for supporting thousands of people since March last year, providing daily meals for the vulnerable and any person in need. They have all been amazing. Melinda Ward, Watford
ANNA LAWLER helps run HANDY LADIES, group of volunteers feeding people in the community who are shielding in lockdown. Donna Maria Walker, Didsbury, Gtr Manchester
I’VE a lockdown hero, RICHARD PARKES. He has done so much for his local community during lockdown, with barely any recognition. He even dressed as Santa and drove miles to wave at kids and make them smile. Holly Stanton, Cannock, Staffs
I’M so impressed with my husband, TOM BAILEY. I had Covid-pneumonia and was in hospital for six days, during which time he was at home with our three-year- old and five-year-old. He did all the home-schooling tasks with the five-year- old around entertaining the younger one. I came home to a clean, tidy house. Since I got home, he’s literally done everything round the house while I recover. I’m sure there are lots of people with similar stories but Tom definitely feels like my hero at the moment. Chloe Bailey, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset
CARING MICHELLE PEARSON and SARAH CORNWAITE deserve praise for keeping our Northenden Tuesday Tots group going on Zoom. They have been a lifeline to many parents with small children in lockdown! They are heroes. Alicia Rachel, Northenden, Manchester
I WOULD like to say thank you to all SECURITY GUARDS who are still working during this time to protect businesses and closed shops. Abbie Keith, Wolverhampton
I’D like to nominate DAMIEN KING, who is the manager of my favourite pub, THE TYNEMOUTH LODGE. As he can’t open his pub, he has been volunteering at the local vaccination centre, helping to direct people and keep them safe on arrival. It’s a difficult time for him but he’s using his time wisely and for the good of others. Will Walker, Cullercoats, North Tyneside
MY husband ROSS HOCKHAM is my hero. Not only is he a London firefighter but in his spare time he runs his own charity, UK Astronomy. He used this charity to help adults and kids with their mental health during lockdown, encouraging them to go into their gardens or balconies and look up and learn about the night sky. He also offered free Facebook live sessions and produced activity sheets and guides. As well as all that, when I got Covid (he had it at the same time) he made sure I had drink, food, medicine, etc. He really is my hero! Frankie Hockham, Milton Keynes, Bucks
JEN SAVARIS has been amazing since the first lockdown. She has coordinated community support on a massive scale. Everything from shopping and delivering food to setting up a food bank and fundraising. She also helped an elderly gentleman with vet bills to save his beloved dog. She works tirelessly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Jen is an absolute legend and has helped so many. Nuala White, Didsbury, Manchester
SIMON AND FIONA BARNETT have done shopping for me. Fiona brought me food parcels, dropped my Covid test off, and sent me messages of encouragement. She is a star. Katrina Hopkins, Thetford, Norfolk
INNOVATE TRUST, a volunteer project by Cardiff University, which supports disabled people, for all the care and personal support for our vulnerable relatives. Phil Briant, Rhondda
‘Work pals helped me after my wife’s death’
By Jane Atkinson
A DAD of three whose “soulmate” died during the pandemic today hails the heroes who later helped support him.
William Mitchell was left bereft when his wife and best friend, Sandra, passed away with breast cancer last year.
Sandra, 50, lost her fight on September 11, the date of the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary. Her death left William, 51, and his three grown up children, Amy, 32, Laura, 33, and Liam, 27, shattered.
But William’s bosses at BRAKE BROS, in Newhouse, Lanarks, helped him get through it. Even though the catering giant had a huge task dealing with food distribution during Covid-19, they were there to help William when they heard of Sandra’s illness.
With the help of his bosses, a nearby restaurant and friends and family, William could arrange for Sandra to have a memorable 50th birthday.
William said: “After Sandra died I was shattered. The team at Brakes, in particular JIM DAVIDSON, WILLIE GRANT, KEVIN HARLEY and GARY PHILLIPS took time out to provide me with support .
“No words can express my gratitude.”
JASON and LINDA GOSLING our very good friends, who brought up to 200 people together doing online Lockdown Bingo keeping us all entertained every Saturday night during lockdown. They have been raising hundreds of pounds for lots of local families and charities including Captain Sir Tom Moore, The Lee Rigby Foundation, British Heart Foundation and many local community charities too. Julie Ollis, Birmingham
LISA BAILEY for starting the amazing Facebook group Shine A Light To Fight Coronavirus which has helped thousands of people through some extremely hard times. Lou Blainey, Colchester
MY friend KELLY MARIE HELLEY has been there for me and family through some of our darkest times. She has come into my home to do cleaning and shopping when my mental health was bad during this pandemic. She’s the most selfless person I know. Fatema Bibi, Birmingham
I WOULD like to nominate ELZBIETA BLASZCZYK and MONIKA OSTROUCH, the cleaning staff at our school. They truly are superstars and have gone above and beyond to keep St George’s School in Taunton, safe and clean. Thank you ladies. Anna Marchant, Taunton, Somerset
WAYNE JORDAN has been doing weekly live shows each Friday for everyone to enjoy. Singing, games and quizzes to keep us entertained for almost a year now. Wayne and his partner Peter have selflessly given up their time for everyone else to keep us in high spirits. They have also been raising money for various charities each week and I think they’re truly amazing. Charlotte Bumby, Blackpool
JOHN ISON of FRIENDS OF THE NOOK has helped so many people with care and food packages during Covid, organising hot meals for the elderly and treats of afternoon tea, pie and pea days etc. Now he’s working on treats for Mother’s Day. He never stops thinking of others. This man is tireless in his generosity and an inspiration to our local community. He’s my local hero and always goes the extra mile to help anyone in need. He’d be a most worthy candidate. Beverly Robinson, Bedworth, Warwickshire
TRUE COLOURS THEATRE have been fantastic throughout the pandemic. They provide inclusive performing arts classes for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. Face-to-face classes were running until November and when this was no longer an option, they have been supporting the children online with weekly activities, script reading and stories as well as individual wellbeing sessions held via Zoom. My son would not have had any interaction with anyone if not for this fantastic charity. Sophia Zeta Ainsworth, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear
CURIOSITEA @ 23 in Layton, Blackpool, have been amazing, providing free meals and toiletries to anybody in need. Even at Christmas they drove round in Santa suits handing out gifts to the children, an amazing lady that deserves recognition. Kellie and Mikey DaSilva, Blackpool
TOMMY PARKER has done so much for the community. He has given out food parcels, Christmas gifts and organised Halloween and Santa events. He is now on his next project, Easter eggs for the community. He has gone above and beyond with his kindness. I think I can safely say everyone would like to see Tommy’s kindness acknowledged in some way. Pam Griffiths, Tameside, Gtr Manchester
I WOULD like to say a huge well done to CHARLOTTE MURRAY. She has been working at a primary school looking after the children of key workers since March. At the same time she is a wonderful mum to our two children. She holds our family together. Mark Delaney, Southend, Essex.
MY daughter AMY BAGGOTT, who works in a care home in Nuneaton. The staff have all worked so hard, most of them catching Covid themselves. My daughter has been keeping in touch with residents’ families, doing FaceTime calls, so they can still see their loved ones during this horrible time. Lisa Baggott, Nuneaton, Warwickshire
STEVEN BARTON – this guy never stops! He’s always out to help anyone all around Tameside funded by himself. He’s opened a food bank etc. Just amazing. Alexandra Stephenson-Kenyon, Tameside, Manchester
I WOULD like to nominate SUE DAVIES who runs the BLACKPOOL’S VOICE charity for all the help and support. A lot of people would be lost without her and the team at Blackpool’s Voice. Ian Hopkinson, Blackpool
GRENDON PRIMARY SCHOOL in Highters Heath, Birmingham, has been amazing. They have been so supportive towards my son but also me, calling us every two weeks, providing Zoom contact twice a day and putting together a personal Zoom to my son when he was really struggling. Emma Whitehouse, Kings Heath, Birmingham
NATASHA WRIGHT is Knott End’s Covid hero. Knott End is a small village in Lancashire and she has helped so much. During lockdown she has run the Knott End group – where she does raffles and a food bank twice a week. Also, she gets things for local residents, especially the elderly. Mark Dan, Fleetwood, Lancs
ST ALOYSIUS SCHOOL in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, is amazing. The staff and children make beautiful gifts, cards and treats for our local community. They are always helping out. The staff also help out at our local food bank, Hebburn Helps. All of this on top of teaching our children online and in school. Also well done to NICK CONWAY, the headmaster, who sends out regular updates informing everyone what is happening. They are a very kind, caring school. Tricia Vickers, Hebburn, Tyne and Wear
COMPASS SCHOOL in Southwark deserves a massive shout out. We raised £40,000 during the first lockdown and are able to offer a laptop to every single student who needs one. Emma Walkey-Williams, Southwark, South London
HAMPTON WICK SURGERY in Kingston upon Thames. We have stayed open with near normal appointments, run a Covid rapid assessment clinic and have become a vaccination centre. All staff have remained well and are still smiling even though most are exhausted. Sally McCleery, Kingston upon Thames, South West London
THE team at LEVENSHULME INSPIRE have been wonderful. They have worked tirelessly to find ways to support the community that relies on them. They have provided meals and worked hard to ensure that their food-waste partners, The Bread and Butter Thing, have been able to continue despite the added strain of more people needing it. They have delivered food parcels to the vulnerable, provided a place for people to volunteer and organised phone calls to keep isolated people from loneliness. They are heroes of our community even without the pandemic. This past year, they have shown so much heart. Grace Estill, Levenshulme, Manchester
MY husband GEORGE JOHNSON, who is a secondary school teacher, and has also been running quizzes to raise money (around £2,500) and keep spirits up during lockdown. He has been volunteering and working flat out to serve the local community since the pandemic started.
Emily Johnson, Colchester
Call to arms – how MPs, celebs and big businesses backed our campaign
A HOST of celebs and politicians threw their weight behind Jabs Army as they praised kind-hearted Sun readers who signed up.
Their calls were led by Boris Johnson, who begged for volunteers to help ‘return the country to normal life’.
The PM wrote personally to our readers, saying: “The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is a brilliant example of the power of collective action.
“It has already inspired companies and workplaces up and down the country to join the call to arms.
“So today, I call on everyone who has the time to join the legions of volunteers already signed up and to boost volunteer numbers further still.”
Jeremy Clarkson urged Brits to get off the sofa and sign up to beat the lockdown blues.
He said: “Everyone is saying how bored they are. They’ve watched Netflix, gone through everything on the internet, read Google.
“Well let’s not be bored — let’s get off our bottoms and volunteer.”
His call was backed by a string of other celebs – including the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, who hailed our campaign as “fantastic”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock saluted Jabs Army as he addressed the nation in a No10 press briefing.
He said: “Come and be a part of it. The Sun’s Jabs Army is marching and helping the nation.”
GMB host Piers Morgan branded the campaign as “excellent”.
HANDY LADIES FEEDING THE COMMUNITY, based in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, are a group of volunteers who started last March just cooking around 13 meals for people who were shielding. This has grown to more than 300 meals a week plus desserts – all delivered by the volunteer drivers; they also cooked meals for school children of key workers. They do so much more. Such a caring, compassionate group. Cheryl Ainley, Stockport
MY Covid heroes are my ex-colleagues in the Medicines Optimisation team at NHS KENT AND MEDWAY. They have been helping run the Covid vaccination centres across Swale and North Kent, outside of their normal jobs. Well done ladies. Jenny Prinn, Sittingbourne, Kent
I AM 75 and in a very high category shielding. My neighbours SIMON SINCLAIR and CHARLIE WATKISS have kept me company. I just don’t know how to show them how grateful I am. They have become very good friends and I would love them to be recognised in some way. Thank you. Victor Whitfield, Blackpool
MY sister KELLY DAWSEN is my Covid hero. She organised a community project last year feeding the vulnerable and needy and those shielding during the first lockdown. She’s amazing and deserves recognition. Leysh Naomi, Manchester
TO my husband ALEX WILKINS, who has been working as a paramedic – mainly at nights. Despite long and stressful hours he always comes in with a smile and is amazing with the kids’ home-schooling. Susan Wilkins, Leytonstone, East London
I CAN’T think of anyone deserving more recognition than Mandy Thomas. Mandy has been working as a teacher, volunteering at a Covid-vaccination centre and raising thousands for good causes. She has literally put her life on hold to help others this year. Well done Mandy! Susan Jones and Alison Richards, East Ham, London
OUR local support group OUR COMMUNITY SPIRIT in Howdon, Wallsend, have been amazing. Getting the community together, fundraising, providing food parcels without question or judgement, providing clothes, furniture and support to the local community. Heroes! Sarah Smith, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear
CATHY NEWTON keeps the Haughton Green community in Tameside, Greater Manchester in high spirits. Old and young, she’s always giving them something to look forward to, always organising the next event or delivery. This gorgeous lady is definitely hand-picked. Keep up the amazing work and keep these people smiling just like you do. Julie Dennison, Tameside, Gtr Manchester
I’D like to nominate ANDREA JOHNSON. She’s a Pilates instructor from Warton in Lancaster who has moved her business online during the pandemic and has helped to keep hundreds of people’s well-being and fitness going. She has kept us all motivated and deserves recognition. Lesley Nutter, Fylde, Lancs
Stass at The Gherkin have been hailed as Covid heroes after they dished out over 3,000 free meals to help those in lockdownCredit: Mercury Press
MY wife, SUSAN JONES, is a hero. She has been working at the local school since March, coordinating Zoom lessons and running classes for the kids of key workers. She’s had a tough year but never moaned once. A hero!
Mark Jones, Newton, Chester
CAROLE BUCKLEY, who fought like a Trojan with local and national government agencies and still does to get us what we needed to manage Covid. She fights tirelessly every day for the unseen battles in care homes. Deborah Grieveson, Lytham St Annes, Lancs
OUR Tesco delivery driver DAVID THOMPSON. My husband and I have been shielding for many months so have relied on home deliveries. David is always on time and makes sure he stops for a chat to see if we are OK. He’s a credit to his company. Margaret Simpson, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
MY undisputed lockdown hero is my husband DAVID THOMAS. He has been working round the clock as a police officer but in every spare moment he has been there to support the community, running errands and making sure the neighbours are OK. He is a hero! Alison Thomas, Chester
I WOULD like to recognise a lovely lady called HOLLY CLARKE. She is the ward manager on the Edith Cavell ward at Basildon Hospital in Essex. She and her team looked after my brother when he was seriously ill with Covid. She went way above and beyond in not only caring for him and all the other patients, but I know she treats all her staff with little care packages to show her appreciation. Holly hasn’t had an easy year herself on a personal level but this hasn’t impacted her professionalism. She is a hero to me and I’m sure to many others. Jane Ward, Basildon, Essex
MY hero is my wife ALISON TURNER. She has been working overtime at our local GP surgery making sure absolutely everyone who can have a jab gets one. NHS support staff deserve a shout out. Mark Turner, Maidstone, Kent
TO all the HOSPITAL CLEANERS. As a retired cleaner of 50 years I can’t imagine how hard and tough the past few months must have been. They all deserve a medal. Rita Jenkins, Wrexham
I’D like to nominate the RAMGARHIA BOARD in Northampton. This Sikh-community group has provided amazing support during the past 12 months. From running a food bank open to all communities to providing free lunches during holidays to children, these guys have been amazing. Come rain or shine, they have been there. This pandemic has been tough on all of us but these people have really stepped up to offer a helping hand. It’s not easy going out and asking for help but they always make you feel so welcome. Even their kids get stuck in to help. True heroes, thank you all. Inderjit Jutla, Northampton
MY wife MAUREEN TYLER is a hero. She is working flat-out as a volunteer at our local vaccination centre. She’s not had the best year but has always put others first. Roger Tyler, Poole, Dorset
TO my son ANDY JENNINGS, who has been working as an A&E nurse in the NHS since March. We can’t wait to see you again when all this is over. Maria Jennings, West Ham, East London
MY daughter ALEXA WILLIAMS is a hero. She has been working long hours as a teacher, then volunteering for a mental health charity to provide phone counselling sessions so people who need support get it. I couldn’t be prouder. Victoria Jones, Chester
I WANT to say a big well done to my husband ALAN THOMAS, who runs a garage and has been offering discounted MOTs and services to key workers. Business has been tough this year but we are happy to have been able to help others a little bit. Maria Thomas, Chelmsford, Essex
Sarah hikes six miles to get her jab
By Sheron Boyle
MANY people have gone the extra mile during this pandemic to help others.
But hospital operating department practitioner SARAH GREEN, walked SIX MILES through blizzards to get her jab – so she could protect her patients at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorks.
Nominating her a hero is Ian Carr, the hospital’s associate director of operations, who said: “She took 18,600 cold, determined steps to receive her Covid-19 vaccination, really going that extra mile. We thank her for her efforts.”
Sarah, 45, set off with husband Mark, 59, and seven-year-old son Freddie, seven, by car at 9am on January 14 to get to her 10.35am appointment.
But Sarah, of Dewsbury, West Yorks, faced closed roads, traffic and abandoned lorries due to the wintry weather. After two hours of trying to get out of her hometown, she decided her only option was to walk.
She said: “I was determined to get the precious vaccine as I knew it would protect me, my family, my colleagues and our patients.
“I kept updating Mark at certain landmarks so he knew I was safe. It took him a further two hours to get home. I updated the vaccine helpline a couple of times to assure them I was on my way but might be a bit late.
“I finally arrived about 1.45pm – a bit wet – after walking for 3.5 hours. My Fitbit recorded my steps. I could have rebooked for another day. But I’d already started the journey and my husband had a day off so I didn’t need to worry about childcare. And because I’m a bit stubborn – it was a no-brainer.
“The staff doing the vaccines are brilliant and if they can make it in to work to give us all the vaccine then it’s only fair that we try our best to keep our appointments.”
Sarah has worked in the NHS for 26 years. Her present post sees her dealing with mums-to-be in the maternity unit as she prepares theatres for surgery. She also assists the teams of anaesthetists, ensures the patients are safe and assists with surgery.
She added: “We’ve had to take extra precautions as we never know which mum might have the virus or not and babies come at any time of the day.”
I’D like to nominate all the amazing people working at COVID VACCINE CENTRES. Many of them are volunteering their free time. If they weren’t there, nurses like myself may have to leave really ill patients and work at these centres. These hero volunteers are vital to our national fightback. Andy Johnson, Crewe
I WOULD like to say thanks to PHOEBE PANKHURST, who has been a big help to the local community. Throughout this pandemic, she has been there for anyone who has needed assistance, getting shopping and delivering it. Karan Gujal, Coulsdon, South London
I’D like to thank my auntie, auxiliary nurse MICHELLE PARNABY, who has carried on working in tough conditions. Despite having her own health issues, she was desperate to get back on the front line to help coronavirus patients. Alan Walker, North Shields, North Tyneside
A BIG thanks to LAURA WRIGHT, who works for Wolves FC Disabled Supporters Association. She has been doing incredible work over the last year to stay in touch with members and offer services in order for fans with a disability to enjoy the games. Bradley Hope, Spofforth, North Yorks
I WOULD like to thank the METRO TRAIN DRIVERS in Newcastle who have ensured myself and other key workers can get to their workplaces during lockdown, especially over the past few weeks with the awful weather. Paul Daniels, Wallsend, North Tyneside
I NOMINATE AGE CONCERN TYNESIDE SOUTH (ACTS). I volunteered with them during the first lockdown and saw first-hand how they helped the vulnerable and elderly across the borough. The staff did a fantastic job of collecting shopping lists, doing the shopping and then organising the delivery. Also, my son Joseph and his colleagues who work for the NORTH EAST AUTISM SOCIETY, supporting vulnerable adults. They have worked solidly during both lockdowns, even when they lost one of their co-workers to Covid. Alison Brown, South Shields, South Tyneside
I WOULD like to thank my sister ALISON FRANCIS, her husband MARK and my lovely nephews EWAN, HARRY and JACOB for their hilariously chatty Zoom calls and good company on winter walks. They have cheered me up no end and really helped to keep a smile on my face throughout the pandemic. I would have been lost without them. Emily Mansell, Syndenham, South London
I’D like to pay tribute to the TIME BANK volunteering organisation in our village. Before and during lockdowns they have done a sterling job making PPE and facemasks. They also care for the elderly by delivering medicines, taking them to doctors’ appointments and arranging phone calls with the lonely. They also organise a food bank for those in need and have set up a library in our phone box, which is well used. Jessica Williams, Houghton & Wyton, Cambs
I WOULD like to praise the click and collect team at TESCO in SOUTHPORT. Like many supermarket staff, they have been helping us to keep our homes stocked with vital food and household goods in difficult circumstances. They are always cheerful and I think represent the many thousands of shop workers who have helped keep the country ticking over during the pandemic. Eddie Barford, Hightown, Merseyside
THANK you to my wife AMY TYSOE. She’s wonderful. When I was poorly she slept on the sofa for ten days so I could have the bed. She did all the cooking, cleaning, shopping and made sure I wanted for nothing. She made an awful, stressful time bearable. She’s the most selfless person I know. Rachel Tysoe, South Shields, South Tyneside
I WOULD like to hail all the staff at the COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL. I was a matron there and retired ten years ago. I thought we had some tough times in my 40 years of nursing but nothing compares to what the staff have had to deal with in the past 12 months. Domestics, porters, nurses, physios, doctors, pharmacists, housekeepers and clerks have all come together. Some staff have moved from children’s wards to Covid wards. They have had to deal with excessive deaths, acting as go-betweens from patient to relative, often in the last hours of life. The staff are tired and exhausted but continue to give 200 per cent. They really deserve recognition. Lyn Page, Chester
CASSIDY’S in FORMBY is a small independent greengrocer’s employing local staff and purchasing produce locally where possible. The shop has operated full opening hours throughout the year and the helpful staff have continued to provide a wonderful service in a safe and friendly environment. They have, in these difficult times, managed to put in place a telephone ordering system for collection from the shop. Nick Gibb, Formby, Merseyside
A HUGE thank you to the NHS VOLUNTEERS. I’m housebound and suffer with a debilitating condition and throughout the pandemic the volunteers have been amazing. Nothing is too much trouble for them. They’ll do shopping for me, post letters, pick up prescriptions and they regularly contact me to make sure I’m OK and to ask whether I need anything doing. They are truly amazing, kind people. Alyson Groom, Crosthwaite, Kendal, Cumbria
I’D like to thank my best friends EMILY, OLIVIA, JOSIE and SARAH, who have kept me company on Zoom, sent video messages and helped me with my homework. They have allowed me to have a lot of fun until we can get back to school and see each other again. Lucy Wade, aged 12, South Shields, South Tyneside
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