Lockdown Legends - who has won?
We asked you to nominate your lockdown legends – the people you thought had pulled out all the stops during the past year to make life a little easier for others.
It was a tough task but our management team has chosen the winners.
We received dozens of your nominations for people who stepped up and made life that little bit better for their friends, neighbours and local community.
Some of the nominees and winners were going through incredibly difficult times themselves – but that didn’t stop them from reaching out to others.
So, who are our Lockdown Legends? Read on to find out and discover their stories:
Alan Elphick and Leroy Pope
These friends and Mount Wise Towers neighbours delivered food every Wednesday to those in need in the Towers – despite having their own health problems.
Leroy was also praised for keeping the communal garden going and helping his neighbours with their shopping – one called him a ‘joy’ to have as a neighbour.
Leroy said: “The Food Bank at Devonport Help a Neighbour in Pembroke Street was struggling to deliver so I began doing deliveries for them. I asked Alan if he’d help. We ended up doing two vanloads a day some days. We delivered to all three towers.”
Alan said: “We never expected to get any recognition for this.”
The pair are so thoughtful of others, they even said they would spend some of their voucher on items for the Food Bank – true legends!
Many of our nominees were chosen because of their efforts to improve our environment and Cath is one of them.
If Cath looks familiar to you, that may be because you’ve seen her picking up litter in and around the Barbican.
City centre resident Cath is described as a ‘pillar of the community’ by Housing Officer Marissa Maloney, who nominated her.
Marissa said: “During the first lockdown, she helped other services who were not out on our estates working as usual by picking up rubbish in the streets, not only around our blocks and land but along the Barbican and the Hoe Waterfront.
“Cath joined other volunteers assisting with this task on a daily basis. She helped Rangers when they were not on site by collecting dumped flytipping and storing it safely until their return, assisting in keeping the gardens maintained and clear of rubbish and generally helping residents who were vulnerable, providing essential items for them to eat and clean so that they did not have to go to the shops.”
Marissa added that Cath, who has her own litter picking gear, also helps other residents who struggle to take out their rubbish.
Cath said: “I was brought up to look out for other people. I refuse to sit down. It’s mind over matter. Picking up litter is a good way to start the day.”
It seems Dawn can turn her hand to anything, a true fixer who gets things done.
Dawn founded the Don't Dump It Site Plymouth and Surrounding areas to help reduce landfill. People with items to dispose of put up a post to give their items away to anyone who can make use of them and it has turned into a real community page.
She has also teamed up with Hillsborough Spiritualist Church in Mutley to create a Food Bank to help those struggling throughout lockdown.
Dawn is also one of the ‘go to’ people if there is a lost animal that needs help or microchipping.
And it that wasn’t enough, she has also created the Dinosaurs of Plymouth Facebook page to help put a smile on children's faces by encouraging people to dress up as dinosaurs.
Dawn said: “Last year someone offered me £10 to get some food and before I knew it people were throwing money at me. I put 69 Christmas dinners together – for the last 24 meals I had to ask someone to help me! People know to come to me for help now.
“This Food Bank isn’t like the rest of them. People don’t need a voucher or be referred. Working people struggle.
“I saw people dressed up as dinosaurs running around. It made people smile. Cars were beeping and drivers waving.”
Malcolm and Susan Stredwick
Nothing is too much trouble for North Prospect residents Malcom and Susan, who live in the Beacon flats.
They rushed up to check on their upstairs neighbour in the middle of the night after hearing a loud banging coming from his flat.
Thankfully, it only turned out to be a bottle of water that had fallen off a table but the couple are ever alert to others’ needs.
The pair – who have been married for 49 years – have passed on their phone number to fellow residents and told them to call if they need anything.
They’ve helped people who’ve fallen ill, done shopping and assisted with paperwork.
The Stredwicks have also maintained the Beacon’s roof garden, using their own money to pay for paint and plants, spending hours tidying it up and improving it.
Susan also regularly cleans the sun room so it can be used safely by the community.
Malcolm said: “We love it here. We try and get people involved. We don’t mind helping anybody. Everyone needs help at some time.”
They also organise prize draws at Christmas and bingo. Susan added: “It keeps us busy. We try and coax people out of their flats.”
Teresa has had a tough year herself. Not only is she a full-time care worker, working 12–14 hours shifts, she also lost her best friend and an uncle in recent months.
Yet she continued going to work, not wanting to leave her employer in the lurch.
She has been a massive support to her friends and family, often dropping round care packages and not asking for anything in return.
She was nominated by Laura, one of her daughters, who called Teresa her ‘hero’.
Laura said: “Mum is often exhausted, but she never complains. Someone who has gone through such trauma is never expected to do what she does, but there she is when you need her even when she's suffering herself and this to me is the definition of a hero. My hero.”
Teresa said: “It’s so nice to receive this.”
All of the above each win a £50 Love2Shop voucher and the 29 highly commended (including four PCH members of staff) nominees receive a £20 Love2Shop voucher.
Well done to everyone!