Portsmouth's coronavirus heroes honoured for their 'outstanding work' during the pandemic
SELFLESS community heroes who helped the city’s most vulnerable residents through the coronavirus pandemic have been honoured for their ‘tireless dedication’ to Portsmouth.
Gongs were handed out to top citizens who displayed an ‘outstanding contribution to city life’ as part of Portsmouth City Council’s annual civic awards.
Presented by the new Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas – who has taken over from Councillor Rob Wood – the awards recognised individuals and groups who have made a difference during the pandemic.
He said: ‘These awards are given to members of the community who have made an outstanding contribution to the life of the city.
‘Some are already well known in Portsmouth, while others have made nonetheless significant contributions.
‘People this year have gone above and beyond their usual job or volunteering role to support vulnerable members of society and keep critical services going.’
Among those honoured this year was 75-year-old Jackie Peters, who was nominated for her 'outstanding dedication’ supporting needy families as part of the Portsmouth Food Bank team.
The Baffins resident said: ‘I feel totally shocked. I initially wanted to turn down the award because I just love doing what I do and it seemed wrong that I was going to get something for doing what I like.
‘So I’m really here accepting this on behalf of everybody who has done something for the food bank community in Portsmouth.’
Jackie, who has been a volunteer at the food bank for more than 12 years, said this past year had seen a huge increase in demand, with double the average number of people needing handouts to survive.
‘We have supported about 1,500 people in the last 15 months, covering everybody from people living on the street to families of seven,’ she added.
‘It’s been hard. But the people who have donated food have come up trumps – they’ve almost doubled their donations to help. It’s been amazing to see.’
Others praised for their civic contribution included the mortuary team at Queen Alexandra Hospital who have had to deal with the fallout of the coronvirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of 1,074 people across Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant.
In Old Portsmouth, the team at the Duke of Buckingham pub in High Street were celebrated for the ‘significant contribution to the wellbeing and protection to citizens of Portsmouth’ by providing more than 50,000 meals for the elderly and vulnerable during the pandemic.
Similar praise was lavished on the team at St Margaret’s Community Church Foodbank and Pompey in the Community, which was also recognised during the service in Guildhall.
Individuals were also honoured, with Fiona Loew praised for her remarkable work in sewing more than 1,800 cloth masks for key workers to use as facial coverings.
Jeanette Warren earned an award for her work transporting food to the vulnerable stuck indoors during the pandemic.
Asghar Shah also scooped a civic award for his efforts during the pandemic, as did Tina Moth who had supported patients at the Spinnaker Ward, in St Mary's Hospital, who were unable to see their families due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The last person honoured was Jordan O'Sullivan, who received the the youth civic award for her work in the care sector.