Marilyn Laws with masks drying on a line

Lockdown Legends

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About Lockdown Legends

In July 2020 The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Liveable Exeter and Exeter City Council asked people across Devon to nominate their Lockdown Legends; to celebrate local people who had shown particular kindness, courage, humanity or ingenuity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lockdown Legends honours those people and allows those who were supported, or saw the lives of others improved, a chance to say thank you. 

The following stories showcase the resilience of the people of Devon who have helped the most vulnerable in our society. They are truly inspiring and highlight the selfless actions of individuals who went above and beyond to help others.

Community

Mahi Ahmed

Mahi Ahmed was the founder of Inclusive Exeter CIC’s Coronavirus Hardship Relief Project. As lockdown loomed, Mahi got working on his plan to have tasty, nutritious meals delivered to vulnerable people across the city. Within days, a team of volunteers responded and our wonderful group of co-ordinators, order takers, shoppers, chefs and delivery drivers came together. Mahi’s enthusiasm was infectious and our whole team felt motivated and energised. More than 1,000 people benefited, receiving meals and/or food parcels, thanks to Mahi’s vision and drive. He would say that every member should be nominated but he is our Lockdown Legend. – Nominated by Alan Quick

Khaled Wakkaa

I nominate Khaled Wakkaa who has boosted morale and community spirit in a fun and welcoming way during lockdown with the ‘Coronavirus, Positive Things in Exeter and Devon’ Facebook page, his inspiring social media posts and voluntary work. This includes him and his wife cooking meals they donate to organisations such as the volunteer-run St Thomas Food Fight, which provides food for people in need in Exeter. He has raised awareness about many resources and events across Exeter while always smiling. He continues to do this now including on the Exeter Diversity page on Facebook. – Nominated by Catherine Watson

Khaled Wakkaa wearing a smile mask outside
James, Rhiannon, Martha, Claire, Monica, Alison, Clare, Clare, Ruth, Khaled and Liz from St Thomas Food Fight

We would to nominate: James Aczel, Rhiannon Marsh, Martha Chester, Claire Gollop, Monica Hope, Alison Williams, Clare Palmer, Clare Hadfield, Ruth O’Neale, Khaled Wakkaa and Liz Shinn from St Thomas Food Fight. This fabulous group of people have provided endless free meals to people from across Exeter who are experiencing food poverty and significant disadvantage. They have prepared over 2500 healthy, delicious meals to those in need, sharing positive messages across the city and via their social media. Without the group’s outstanding contribution many would have gone hungry. Thank you to St Thomas Food Fight! – Nominated by Fiona Carden and Chloe Pooley

Photographs of Liz, James, Ruth, Claire, Rhiannon and Paul from St Thomas Food Fight

Steven Godbeer

Steven Godbeer has for a few years been collecting food for Exeter foodbank. He not only collects, but also shops for food, from monetary donations, in his own time. During the Covid-19  pandemic he has collected, bought, and delivered 805.08 stone (5.11 tonnes) of food for those in need. I think he deserves this, and would love to see his picture on your wall. – Nominated by Debbie Hows

Dan the Grocer with a box of veg
Dan from The Grocer on the Green

Dan from The Grocer on the Green, is a single trader with a young family. He has gone to incredible lengths, at some personal cost, to keep us fed under lockdown, particularly those of us who were unable to get delivery slots from supermarkets in spite of being advised to shield. His tiny shop is closed as it is impossible to operate social distancing and he has found additional premises to store his supplies and so be able to deliver to our doors to keep us safe. We will always be grateful for his care in these difficult times. – Nominated by Miranda Whiting

Jakir Hussain

Jakir Hussain lost his income as a self-employed taxi driver once Lockdown started. As well as looking after his own family, he wanted to look after his neighbours in Exeter. He volunteered every day, with Exeter Mosque and Cultural Centre a partner of Exeter Communities Together, helping prepare delicious curries, then putting his “taxi” to good use, delivering food all over the city to people in need. No doubt Jakir was inspired to act by his Muslim faith, but what is special about this project is that it was not just for one faith community, or one geographical community, but was there to support everyone in need. – Nominated by Trish Oliver

Jakir Hussain with boxes of supplies

Karen Fitzgerald standing in front of a building

Karen FitzGerald

I wish to nominate Karen FitzGerald as a Lockdown Legend. Since the start of lockdown (and long before) Karen has been helping as a major facilitator of the Ivybridge Food Bank, helping many families and people in desperate straits, which has been exacerbated by the situation. Karen goes above and beyond the call of duty and has also sought out grants and emergency aid for people, tracking down loopholes in the system and helping those who have fallen through the cracks. She has literally stopped people from starving and helped them pay bills and kept them from desperation. – Nominated by Sorrel Dryden 

Andy O'Doherty outside Exeter City Football Club with his delivery bike
City Community Trust

I wish to nominate CITY Community Trust (CCT) as a Lockdown Legend. 
Routinely, CCT is Exeter’s leading health and wellbeing charity, working in partnership with Exeter City Football Club, and provides a wide range of activities to people of all ages, focused on health, education, wellbeing and physical activity. During the Covid-19 crisis, they stepped up and evolved their delivery to underpin the support services here in Exeter and East Devon. 
From March to August, they made urgent deliveries of medicine and food to some of the most vulnerable and isolated in the community. As those individuals have had better access to food and medicine, the charity has refocussed to support isolated members of the community with things such as pen pal schemes, telephone befriending, and deliveries of activity packs.
Nominated by Councillor Peter Holland.

Corinna Spurway in front of a book store
Corinna Spurway

Having spotted a mini library on her travels in America, Corinna Spurway decided to provide one for her neighbours on a new development in Pinhoe. This “book hut” quickly became popular with children and adults. Fast forward to 2020 and Covid-19. Corinna ingeniously adapted the mini library to become a little larder, where neighbours could collect food they needed, including eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables – invaluable in the early days of Lockdown. As spring turned to summer, realising people were struggling on reduced incomes, Corinna started delivering free food boxes to those in need. Thankyou Corinna, Pinhoe loves you. – Nominated by Trish Oliver

Jess Cohen outside a building with bunting flying
Jess Cohen

I would like to nominate Jess Cohen because she and colleagues at Age UK have worked tirelessly with her volunteers to provide support for older people isolating and/or in need of services during lockdown. Without Age UK to help, many people would have been left stranded without a way to access help, or worried about their relatives far away who were left without local support. Thank you Age UK and to Jess Cohen, based on Cowick Street, in St Thomas. – Nominated by Chloe Pooley

Rita Witney

I would like to nominate my dear friend Rita Witney of Bideford. Throughout lockdown this 73yrs old lady has been a stalwart of our community. She has shopped weekly at Lidl’s for herself and 4 other elderly people. She delivers the weekly ‘rag to all on her housing site, she has cooked homemade food and delivered to several vulnerable people, phones daily 4 elderly ladies to check all ok and for company as they are alone. Rita also donated a new laptop to the local primary school for a young child to be able to do their schoolwork. – Nominated by Denise Morrish

Rita Witney with a man in front of some doors

Sonya Ellis

Sonya Ellis has demonstrated tireless commitment and care as a community volunteer. She belongs to Devon & Cornwall 4×4 rescue, personally making 50 deliveries of PPE to frontline staff in medical settings and care homes across Devon. Sonya set up Exeter Sew Volunteers, a network of 30 individuals and 5 groups making over 2500 free headband ear protectors, face coverings and scrub bags for frontline NHS staff. As an athletics coach she provided free athletics activity boxes to enable local families to keep active at home. She also coordinated a network of volunteers providing support to those in self-isolation. – Nominated by Gian Ellis

Katie with a building in the background
Katie

Katie was instrumental in organising a wonderful group of volunteers in our lovely village of Whimple. The volunteers were invaluable to the elderly, vulnerable and those needing extra support during lockdown. I’m aware that Katie also supported the ‘Volunteers’ making sure that they were ok and were coping with the extra demands being asked of them. Katie also kept the village amused with a daily photo depicting her life during lockdown. She is beautifully authentic and she shared her ups as well as her down days, letting us all know that it’s ok not to be ok sometimes. – Nominated by Gill Wilson

Black and white portrait shot of Garry Wakeman
Garry Wakeman

I nominate Garry Wakeman from open arms mental health Honiton Charity, for going above and beyond during lockdown, even with his own health issues. During Covid-19  he’s still running around, on the end of the phone, caring and taking calls to make sure he can give people with mental health issues advice and support over this challenging time. He’s delivering food parcels, art kits and collaborating to help other Covid-19 community volunteers, Isolation Creation. He is supporting and assisting them to reach out into other communities. This man never gets the recognition he deserves. – Nominated by Hayley Watson

James Smith

My husband James is my lockdown hero. He started 3 months of parental leave just as lockdown began and used the time to help our community. He looked after Baby Ben while I was at work and every evening he volunteered with Mount Pleasant Pharmacy and Pennsylvania Good Neighbours Group. James has now delivered over 300 prescriptions to people self-isolating in Stoke Hill, Pennsylvania, Beacon Heath, and Cowley Bridge, helping to keep vulnerable people in our area safe. He is a brilliant Dad and still finds time to help others – I couldn’t be more proud of my boys! – Nominated by Hazel Smith

Dale Hall

Some years ago, Dale Hall had the vision to found, organise and manage the Ashford Society. A small and somewhat disparate North Devon village was quickly drawn together by presentations, workshops and exhibitions, all relying upon local talent and attracting surprisingly large audiences. At Lockdown, Dale launched the Ashford Lockdown Society Helping Hands network, using his now extensive local communications system. Within days, his appeal produced an ever growing list of effective volunteers, whom he continues to co-ordinate, helping people every day across the whole range of social need. His interactive ASHH email updates, now approaching 100, continue to inform and entertain. – Nominated by Ian Hall

Group photo outdoors of the Pinhoe Community Support Team
Pinhoe Community Support Team

This is a photo of (some of) the Pinhoe Community Support team; the whole team are my Lockdown Legends. From the very beginning we were inundated with offers from people living right across Pinhoe who wanted to help anyone in need. Our volunteers shopped when it was still scary, carefully delivered food, medication, plants, wool for knitting and often cake. They donated their time when people needed to talk and they listened to all the quiet voices who needed reassurance and care. They’ve made an enormous difference to our whole community – people say Pinhoe feels like a village again. – Nominated by Kate Jago

David King, Sarah Rundle, Lily “Star Baker” Kehoe, Harriet King, Andrew Montgomery, Margaret Mogford, Nikki Andrews, Rahul Antony, Karen McDowell and Poppy, Madelin Bexon, Jane Fletcher Peters, Robin Thwaytes, Karin Fragner-Hunter, Pamela Hoad, Sheena Dick, Stewart Lee, with Isabelle and Charlie Dennis-Lee, Phil Stagg, Maddy Jago (hiding), Paul Stevens and Steve Soper.

ParkLife Team

ParkLife Trustees are nominating a group of volunteers as Lockdown legends. This team helped deliver over 175 prescriptions to 80 different households from March to the end of shielding on 31st July. ParkLife were made aware of a need by the local pharmacy in Heavitree to help get prescriptions to vulnerable people shielding in the local community or self-isolating. The charity pulled together a small group of volunteers who were able to respond and help quickly and in a practical way. New connections and relationships have been built which fits perfectly with the charity’s overarching aim to support and grow community. – Nominated by ParkLife Heavitree

The team: Alex Turner and children, Kate Wilder, Claire and Ben Hunt, Maggie and Peter Williams, Catherine Wolfgang and Kath and Owain Hadden

Montage of all the ParkLife team
Katie sat in a van with an open door
Katie

Katie launched Reform, her community charity, last year. Her aim has always been to support families and young people to thrive against adversity. During lockdown she has used her charity to provide hot meals and essential supplies to families and children living in poverty. Katie truly understands the needs of Torquay and dedicates her time to being the voice of young people and championing the people who need it most. An incredible lady who brings a community together. Thank you. – Nominated by Laura Secker

YMCA Exeter Support Worker, Peter Hall

YMCA Exeter Support Worker, Peter Hall is our lockdown legend. As networks, routines and community connection were stripped away for our 31 young people living in supported accommodation, Peter responded with faultless courage. He went above and beyond to support our young people as he toured the building, responding to any fears and connecting from a distance – ensuring every young person knew that they weren’t alone. – Nominated by Clare Bird

Lydia Brown talking on a mobile phone
YMCA Exeter Support Worker, Lydia Brown

As lockdown hit on 23rd March, YMCA Exeter Support Worker, Lydia Brown, was on call 24/7 responding faultlessly and courageously to young people struggling with the impact of lockdown on their mental health.  One resident needed Lydia to accompany them to the hospital, other residents needed Lydia to queue for hours to collect their prescriptions. Many residents just wanted to chat on the phone day or night, knowing that Lydia would be there for them. To all of us at YMCA Exeter, Lydia is our lockdown legend. – Nominated by Clare Bird

YMCA Exeter Maintenance Officer, Sarah Griffiths

As Covid-19 broke, Sarah Griffiths single-handedly kept YMCA Exeter supported accommodation spotlessly clean for all 31 young people living in residence. She went above and beyond, putting her own health at risk to ensure that there was no chance of the virus spreading. From endlessly cleaning communal handles, to meticulously ensuring communal bathrooms were free of germs, Sarah embodied selfless courage and kindness towards all of our young people. To all of us at YMCA Exeter, Sarah is our lockdown legend. – Nominated by Clare Bird

Sarah Griffiths cleaning with a mop
Paul Mouland with his cycle
Paul Mouland

We would like to nominate Paul Mouland, the Freemoovement team and their volunteers. The team have been delivering, by bike and trailer, hot meals to the homeless, medication, books from Exeter Library, food packages and essential supplies for people who have suffered financially and emotionally. They have forged partnerships with multiple community organisations including faith groups, St Thomas Food Fight, St Thomas Medical Centre to name a few. Paul has also stepped in and hosted online Covid-19 emergency meetings for the city wards of St Thomas, Alphington and Exwick. Their contribution to the city of Exeter has been immense. – Nominated by Chloe Pooley

Dawn Shepherd sat behind a desk
Dawn Shepherd

Dawn Shepherd is the founder of Dartmouth Community Chest. Working closely with TQ6 Community Partnership, their response to Lockdown has been phenomenal. Dartmouth is a town where poverty and inequality are real, yet masked by the wealth very much on show. Dawn has coordinated the provision of free hot meals, emergency food parcels, prescription collection and at the height of lockdown, the team was supporting 400+ people With her volunteers they have filled the ‘chaos’ where local services withdrew and even organised a mental health support service. Dawn epitomises self-organising, caring and resilient local community action. – Nominated by Paul Morgan

“Overall I felt that the entries collectively all demonstrated an incredible commitment to their local communities.  The Pandemic brought out the very best in people.  Working in groups or individually, their big hearts and generous natures found ways of keeping their communities together, supported and entertained.”

Angela Rippon – panellist

Health and care

Steve Todd at a testing station
Steve Todd

Steve Todd is the manager at Vanehill Care in Torquay: running a care home, keeping 32 residents safe and protected with the help of his staff, protecting them and keeping them up to date on Covid-19 updates, helping residents and staff to take a Covid test and carrying out the test himself as well. On his time off, he has manned the Honiton Park and ride Covid test centre, Exeter.

Jan Roberts

Meet Jan Roberts, known locally as “Wacky Jan “. Our local legend. She’s our carer/cleaner. During this Covid-19 pandemic my days have been long as I care for my husband who has dementia and has been shielding. Jan arrives in all her colourful clothes and wonderful personality and things in our little world seem brighter. My husband comes to life as she is such fun. She has been our link to the outside world. Shopping, post office, chemist. She supports other clients as well as elderly neighbours. Thank you Jan you are a Diamond. – Nominated by Ursula Mosley

Jan Roberts opening a house door

Photographs of the White House Devon Team helping an elderly man

The White House Devon Team

I would like to nominate the staff at The White House, Teignmouth Devon. It is not one legend, but a collective legend of a team who, two weeks prior to lockdown, agreed to move into the home to protect the residents who have dementia. Over 12 weeks in self-isolation, the challenge became an opportunity for the bond to become stronger between staff and residents. As the legendary saying goes: All for one and one for all. – Nominated by Tushar Shar

Demelza, Sorelle, Rebekkah, Tracie, Chloe, Natasha, Natasha, Tom, Jackie, Eddie, Gavin, Katie

Kelvin sat on a bench outdoors
Kelvin

I would like to nominate Kelvin of The Club Mental Health because he has worked so tirelessly with his colleague Sadie to provide vital support for adults experiencing mild to severe long term mental health conditions during this isolating and uncertain time. He has gone above and beyond to take people to vital appointments (in line with government restrictions of course), provided face to face meetings when all essential NHS services have been long cancelled, to offer a lifeline to those in need. Nominated by Chloe Pooley

Sadie O’Reilly

Sadie O’Reilly is the manager of a club which is a non-profit organisation supporting adults with mental health difficulties. It provides a safe, flexible space to learn, share and develop new skills, form and maintain friendships and enjoy activities in the community.  During lockdown Sadie worked tirelessly to ensure the welfare and needs of all members were catered for. This included setting up a Facebook chit and chat group, telephone contact and helping with shopping. When we were able to, she started a walking group and 1-2-1 appointments, finally putting in place all measures so we could re-open safely. Nominated by Claire Richards

Andy Witnall and BAM

BAM Construction were appointed to build NHS Nightingale Exeter. The work started on Friday 8th May 202, VE day bank holiday. 57 days later a 116 bed acute hospital was complete and ready for the first patient. The team were led on site by Project Manager Andy Witnall who used all his experience to lead a team that peaked at 468 people on site to deliver the facility for the community at the time of national emergency. The image shows him having placed the first bed in the ward at 00.30 in the morning on 1st July 2020. – Nominated by Graham Kingdon

Andy Witnall wearing construction PPE in a hospital
Staff in the shop at Lloyds Pharmacy, Heavitree
Lloyds Pharmacy, Heavitree

I would like to nominate the staff of Lloyds Pharmacy Fore Street Heavitree. During lockdown they diligently carried on serving their customers. They did this with a welcome and always a Lockdown smile for everyone. However nervous they were of catching Covid-19 they didn’t fail in treating customers with compassion and a cheery welcome. – Nominated by Irene Wright.

Kara Blackmore

Kara Blackmore – Hope on the horizon. In February Kara took note from the WHO that a pandemic was on its way and swung into action to obtain the extra PPE that she would need to keep her staff and clients safe. She also started to cook and freeze meals in case her vulnerable clients couldn’t access food. Lockdown happened and she made the most difficult decision a mother ever has to make. She sent her three children away to safety so she could continue to provide a quality service for her clients. They were reunited thirteen weeks later. – Nominated by Karen FitzGerald.

Kara Blackmore outdoors with a child
Alan Spry outdoors
Alan Spry

I am nominating Alan Spry. He is a dedicated NHS frontline worker. He often goes into work at short notice and has come home very late many times. He has had several thank you letters from patients and carers. In his spare time he is studying and has been noted as exceptional by his university. Several times he has seen things that other colleagues have missed in patient care. – Nominated by Liz Spry

“The Covid19 pandemic has brought suffering, restrictions and uncertainty into our communities, but in the face of these challenges it has also brought out the best in many. It was to recognise such positive commitment that the Lockdown Legends exhibition was proposed.

As a member of the judging panel overseeing the nominations I must say that I was humbled by the generosity, creativity and inclusivity of the entries, and the lengths to which people went, to help, and lift the spirits of the vulnerable and self-isolating.

People involved ranged from five years old to beyond pension age; all are shining examples of people stepping out of their comfort zone to help others in greater need, at times even exposing themselves to extra risk in the process.

These ‘legends’ show us that good communities are not something mythical, but are realised in citizens’ empathy, care, and good neighbour attitudes.“

Cllr Amal Ghusain – Panellist

Face coverings and PPE

Gwen Lloyd-Edwards

Gwen Lloyd-Edwards is a dress designer and seamstress who works from her home in Topsham, where she lives with her son. Before moving to Devon, she ran her own wedding dress shop in Bristol. At the start of lockdown when local doctors and nurses were in urgent need of scrubs, Gwen set up the Topsham Scrub Hub, which produced more than 350 sets of scrubs for the NHS. Gwen then turned her hand to making non-surgical masks to help members of the public protect themselves from the virus. This photo was taken through the window of her sewing room. – Nominated by Sharon Goble

Gwen Lloyd-Edwards with a tape and scissors

Marilyn Laws

Since late March Marilyn Laws has selflessly raised over £1000 for the Children’s Hospice South West and in the process brought a sense of security to the community. Marilyn raided her sewing supplies to make an array of masks for the community, and in the process raised money for an organisation where terminally ill children have come to spend their last days during lockdown. The generosity of people has been overwhelming. This is not only in terms of the donations but assisting Marilyn in her quest to distribute the masks. Marilyn’s mission continues! – Nominated by Simon Tootell

Frazer

Frazer has a start-up 3D printing business. Hearing about the shortage of face shields from the beginning of Covid-19 and knowing that he could print some, he realigned his business. With a small team, he concentrated on getting the design requirements correct and proceeded to spend most of his days sourcing materials, printers and finance to be able to print these daily. 10,000m of filament; 100 days; 2400 hours; 50 volunteers to supply 3600 face shields for free mainly to care homes. – Nominated by Alison Keen

Liz, wearing a patterned mask
Liz

Right from the start Liz took the view that we were all in this together and that we all had a part to play. To begin with she made head bands for the local nurses. Then in early May she turned her attention to face coverings, giving these away to whoever wanted them, including many of my colleagues at the university medical school. Her mantra was “we protect each other”. To date she has made and given away hundreds of coverings and only accepted donated material in return. She is a beautiful, selfless, lockdown legend. – Nominated by Annie Knight

Maria Vincent

My mum, Maria Vincent (centre), started making masks and selling them for £4 each to raise money for the North Devon Hospice and the Over and Above charity. All money went to the charities. Due to high demand two friends offered to help out and they raised over £1000 in total (£500 each charity). – Nominated by Sarah Rebecca Hague

Maris Vincent with two other people

“The truly inspiring stories we received celebrate the significant, and sometimes life-changing, contributions made by people, across Devon, during the lockdown period.  RAMM is proud to capture this moment in the region’s history and to ensure a record is kept for future generations.”

Camilla Hampshire – panellist

Church and community

Julien Albrow in a doorway
Julian Albrow

Julian Albrow is the Minister of St Thomas Methodist Church. He is part of St Thomas/Alphington/West Exe Pandemic Response hub which has been providing a Community Larder since April to meet the needs of people who do not qualify for foodbank support but find themselves in food poverty. He hosts the Community Larder at The Methodist Church and has worked in a team with the other Churches and volunteers to collect and distribute food. It has been helping 50 families a week. – Nominated by Yvonne Atkinson.

Lesley Albrow

Lesley Albrow of St Thomas Methodist Church is Chairperson of the preschool there. Throughout the pandemic she has volunteered at the Community Larder, set up to meet the needs of families and children in food poverty. She has supported families and the St Thomas community throughout the lockdown. – Nominated by Yvonne Atkinson

Lesley Albrow in front of a banner
Reverend Mike Partridge with his wife
Rev Mike Patridge

Rev Mike Partridge, St Michael’s Alphington, is my Lockdown Legend. Mike was due to marry at a big celebration during April. Putting Lucy and family first the wedding was brought forward to March despite only being allowed twelve attendees, using Frankie their dog as Best Man to make space for another person! Every day, without exception, he has hosted a livestream devotional for the community, on top of regular Zoom services. He has led several difficult funerals with great compassion, understanding and love. Outside church he remains active sitting on the Alphington Community Covid-19 Volunteer Response Hub, putting others before self. – Nominated by Paul Ramsbottom

“There were so many fantastic initiatives, so many selfless extensive efforts and so many people that just wanted to do something to help… Everybody nominated here deserves to be recognised and thanked for their efforts and I’m sure there are many others whose names may not appear. All I can say is the deepest thank you to them all. It’s so great to know that our city is in such great and willing hands, and that there are so many of them.”

Julian Tagg – Panellist

Entertainment

Andy Pearson

Andrew Pearson works for Western Power and at weekends hosts discos for birthday and wedding celebrations. His partner is Samantha and they have a son, Jack.  Andrew is a popular member of Bideford Amateur Athletic Club and known as Mr P! Every Saturday night from 28 March to 27 June Andrew hosted his (free) Lockdown Positive Vibes Roadshow live on his Facebook page, taking requests and entertaining audiences of up to 100. He brought family, friends and club buddies nationwide together while also raising money for NHS Charities Together. To his Saturday night audience, Mr P was a true lockdown hero! – Nominated by Candace Jewell

Andy Pearson pointing at his watch
David Spicer with his keyboard
David Spicer

My very good friend David Spicer is a Lockdown Legend because every day for the first 50 days of Lockdown he played a virtual ‘Guess the song’ keyboard rendition of popular hits for his vast number of followers. This quickly became very important to all of his friends and family as it provided something to look forward to and chat about together online. It made everyone smile in a really tough time when people were scared and stuck indoors. His little chat, some jokes and keyboard skills were a daily highlight and made lockdown an easier thing to get through. – Nominated by Dax Oliver

Joe Fisher

My husband, Joe Fisher is self-employed in the events industry and has lost all income from March till at least October/November. He wanted to use his time to help people so he started shopping for neighbours and volunteers at a food bank run by St. Matt’s church in Exeter. His biggest project, hosting an online weekly pub quiz from our shed using his media skills, is still going 14 weeks on and reaching 100s of people locally and beyond who look forward to it each week providing company, fun and lifting people’s spirits. He has donated £400 to Hospiscare through this. – Nominated by Emma Fisher

Ashley Leeds playing a guitar
Ashley Leeds

This is Ashley Leeds. Every day of lockdown during his lunch break, he has played a gig on his guitar in his garden which he shares live through social media. He has done this to help him improve and to bring happiness to people online and to the elderly individuals in the retirement complex opposite. He has confronted every day of the lockdown with a smile on his face and has spread this through his music. This photo, captured by Megan Leeds, is from his 100th gig and his happiness is clear. We couldn’t be more proud to be his daughters! – Nominated by Jessica Cover

Paul Hayman

Paul has been a legend right through the lockdown and keeping Hospital Radio Exeter online. As volunteers we have not been allowed to go in to the hospital so Paul took it on himself as Chief Engineer and ran the system from his home. Every week members record programmes and send them to Paul who uploads them to our system. On a Sunday we have a regular chapel service and each week Paul gets the chaplaincy team to send through prayers, blessings, readings etc. and Paul puts hymns into the service. Paul encourages our members to get involved. Thanks. – Nominated by Hospital Radio Exeter

Art and craft

Hayley Watson bagging materials
Hayley Watson

Hayley Watson was nominated by several people: 

Jonathan Geleff – My lockdown legend is Hayley Watson from isolation creation Exmouth. She has worked tirelessly to provide over 3000 free arts and craft kits to over 550 disadvantaged families, mental health groups, schools for disabled people, supportive housing and residential homes. I can testify to the fact she has stayed up till 4 in the morning on more than one occasion, and also used her own money when needed. You could not meet a more selfless person, Hayley is a true unsung hero who seeks no recognition, but deserves it.

Livvy Hylton-Smith – Hayley Watson is an inspiration to my community. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the positivity this has spread and how many smiles it has created. Tony Watson – Hayley’s selfless efforts have gone above and beyond to the community.

Star Watson – I’m so proud and inspired by my mum’s infectious spirit, and the way she teaches me to help people less fortunate than us in the community. Eva Watson – She is my hero/role model, always putting others first to help them feel happy and well. I wish to be like her.

Livvy Hylton holding a microphone
Livvy Hylton Smith

I would like to nominate Livvy Hylton Smith her selfless efforts during lockdown! Her beautiful heart never stopped helping people as she knew deep inside she felt the same! She needed to channel those feelings into helping others through creativity and helped create a movement on Facebook called Isolation Creation. Her infectious personality helped build a rapport in the community creating free arts and craft packs to people in need and performing a live show singing old wartime classics and jazz to help raise money for kits for nursing homes and schools for mindfulness and wellbeing during Covid-19. – Nominated by Hayley Watson

Vanessa Crosse

The first thing you notice about Vanessa is the warmth of her smile and her vivacity. She conducts her vital work for Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council online or by phone. It is more than a full time job. Yet Vanessa has also found time to deliver packages of craft materials for a community costume project AND make amazing creations herself. She brings joy, compassion and friendship to all those she works with. Her work now is more demanding and important than ever, yet Vanessa remains steadfast in her modesty saying, “I am just doing my job.” – Nominated by Helen Snell

Vanessa Crosse making something with raffia
Nikki Sved

Through the upheaval of the pandemic, Nikki Sved, Artistic Director of Theatre Alibi, has done a huge amount to support the local community with her company’s work. A success of Nikki’s leadership has been her facilitation of Theatre Alibi’s ‘Creative Packs’ that will be distributed via foodbanks and schools to over 400 vulnerable children in Exeter. Each pack contains a beautifully illustrated story to read, and a kit to make a bird puppet. At a time when many children are suffering real hardship and isolation due to the pandemic, stories and imaginative play can be a precious lifeline. – Nominated by Hattie

Nikki Sved with a paper bird

Children and young people

Eva and Star Watson

My twin daughters age 11: Eva and Star Watson. Throughout lockdown they needed to channel their emotions as young carers, having helped their grandmother, who was isolated, for most of their childhood. We sadly lost her through Parkinson’s disease. They still wanted to spread their selfless love and kindness to help others, with a plan to help people in isolation, who were suffering and needed therapeutic art for mindfulness and wellbeing! Throughout Covid-19, Eva and Star have helped pack, deliver and design over 3500 free art packs to the community every day and will continue to do this to help community charities and families. – Nominated by Hayley Watson

Sammy Hartstein

I would like to nominate my son, Sammy as a Lockdown Legend. He’s 16 years old and has been a regular volunteer for the Buckfastleigh Response team, helping deliver food parcels for the food bank. He has donned his face mask and gloves and carried heavy boxes of groceries to people who needed support, often in hot weather. As well as delivering food, he has delivered books to help shielded people with their lockdown boredom. He has done all of this whilst coping with the death of his grandma, the loneliness of lockdown, and uncertainty around his GCSEs. – Nominated by Helen Hartstein

Sammy Hartstein holding a box of food

Jack Hopkins

I would like to nominate Jack aged 5 from North Devon who in lockdown walked 50k to raise money to help the NHS. Total raised £1550. He walked 5k twice a week and although this was tough he kept going as he remembered “the doctors and nurses needed to help to stop the virus”. – Nominated by Katie Roberts

Tess Lawson with a lettuce in each hand
Tess Lawson

I would like to nominate my daughter Tess Lawson, age 10 as a Lockdown Legend. Tess has been busy throughout lockdown helping those shielding in our community. She has delivered prescriptions, shopping, and chatted with elderly and vulnerable, always with a smile. Tess delivered lettuces she grew to a shielding couple with a tortoise called Noddy. She struck up a friendship with the couple and tortoise and regularly visits them. Tess delivered an urgent medication to a lady with a brain tumour. The lady said it ‘meant the world to her’. Tess does not realise just how special she is. – Nominated by Jane Fletcher Peters

Ryan Mahajan

I nominate my 10 year old Ryan Mahajan who is raising money for the NHS and local hospice. – Nominated by Roshni Mahajan

Ryan Mahajan holding a rugby ball

Essential services

Chloe Western in front of a store
Chloe Western

I would love to nominate my Daughter in-law Mrs Chloe Western. During the whole of Covid-19 She has worked as a Nursery Manager at Spring Nursery in Beacon Heath, making sure the Nursery is a Covid safe place and the children can play as normal as possible whilst their parents can continue to work in key worker roles. Chloe has NOT STOPPED. She has also been collecting food from supermarkets then making them into food parcels and delivering them to the families in Beacon Heath who need them. She is my lockdown legend. – Nominated by Janet Knowles

Joanna Fison, Deaf Academy

My lockdown legends are the team of teachers and assistants at the Deaf Academy, who have been hosting an Online Academy for their students over the past 4 months during lockdown. The entire Online Academy was set up incredibly quickly to ensure that their students, all of whom are moderately to profoundly Deaf, missed out on as little education as possible. They were led by Academy Teacher Jo Fison who is pictured. Jo ensured that the Online Academy team were up to date on technology, and organised classes and timetables, and the whole team really have been amazing. – Nominated by Nicki McCaskie

Joanna Fison sat at a desk
Victoria Hatfield working from home
Victoria Hatfield

I would like to nominate Victoria Hatfield as a Lockdown Legend. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that all of the businesses in Exeter have been supported as much as possible through this period.  She has put in an endless amount of hours and commitment to help get grants to businesses, working with colleagues across the county, and more recently ensuring that the city centre would be a safe place for people as businesses started to re-open. All of this demonstrates her commitment to our city. – Nominated by Rosie Bates

Exeter’s Waste Operations staff

Essential services – Exeter’s Waste Operations staff These bin collection crews worked tirelessly to ensure collections carried on without delay during lockdown, helping residents to maintain a semblance of normality in their lives. This was an extraordinarily challenging period in the working lives of Exeter’s Waste Operations workforce. The public recognised their efforts with messages and gifts of thanks as the crews made their way around the city. The crews began pinning the cards and notes they received to a wall in the depot. By the time lockdown restrictions were eased, these messages had begun spilling over on to other surfaces throughout the building, having filled the entire ‘Wall of Thanks’. – Nominated by Merrick Palmer

Exeter’s Waste Operations staff: Andy Simmons, Ivor Hunt, Brian Short, Marcin Orlowski (pictured), Colin & Terry, Laurance George, Graham & Richard

Rowan Griffith

Frontline staff such as Rowan Griffith in Exeter’s Material Reclamation Facility, and in MRFs everywhere, were vital in keeping waste collections going during lockdown. Recycling was never more important than during this time. Without it, the country may have run short of packaging for essential medical and food supplies. The women and men in Exeter’s MRF worked long hours in incredibly challenging circumstances to sort the material the bin crews collected from our houses, helping to keep the city going. Rowan is the MRF team leader and worked throughout the crisis, keeping the MRF operating and staff safe. – Nominated by Merrick Palmer

Bev

Bev, the catering manager at St James School has been in school every single day since the start of lockdown. She’s has single-handedly run the kitchen at St James and with a skeleton crew, provided hot, freshly cooked food for all of the vulnerable children and key workers children who’ve attended. Not to mention feeding staff who’ve been looking after those children. She’s not once complained or put her own concerns and worries first. – Nominated by Lauren Dunk

Portrait shot of Charlotte Tregedeon
Charlotte Tregedeon

The Comms team at ECC, would like to nominate Charlie Tregedeon for her work during lockdown on the Exeter Community Wellbeing hotline. The hotline was set up, at pace, in direct response to Covid-19 to give Exeter a point of access for help and support. Charlie was an integral part of setting up a positive and resilient call team who became a reassuring voice to residents at an uncertain time.

“It’s restored my faith in humanity knowing that there’s support out there for vulnerable people like me,” a resident supported by the Exeter Community Wellbeing team said. – Nominated by Jennifer Yendell

A group of sponsor's logos

Lockdown Legends is supported by:
Exeter City Council
Liveable Exeter
Arts Council England
Radio EXE
Archant

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