First Love West Norfolk heroes are announced

A chef who cooked meals for the NHS, a veterinary centre which ensured it saw every pet needing its attention, and an individual who provided care on the Covid-19 frontline whilst volunteering are amongst the first Love West Norfolk heroes to have been announced.

The Love West Norfolk heroes were all nominated by members of the public for the difference they have been making during the pandemic.

The heroes, which include some sixty individuals, teams, and organisations, are each receiving a certificate and badges, and a letter from the Mayor of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Councillor Geoff Hipperson and Love West Norfolk Ambassador James Bagge. The heroes’ names will also be added to a roll of honour both online and in the borough council offices.

In addition, ten heroes have been selected at random to receive a video call from either the Mayor or James Bagge.

And, only when it’s safe to do so, a reception is hoped to take place to recognise all of the heroes.

The Mayor of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Councillor Geoff Hipperson said: “We had an incredible response to the Love West Norfolk heroes scheme and the nominations make clear the extent of the fantastic efforts people have been making to support others during the pandemic.

“It is an absolute pleasure to be able to recognise these heroes and we are very grateful to them for everything that they have done. They truly make us proud of West Norfolk.”

Love West Norfolk Ambassador James Bagge added: “People really have gone above and beyond to help each other out over the last few months. The sense of community and a desire to support others is very evident in the nominations we received.

“West Norfolk is such a special place with so many amazing people doing great things for each other. Our Love West Norfolk heroes underline this.”

James Wild MP for North West Norfolk met three of Hunstanton’s Love West Norfolk heroes – Mr Bun the Baker, Richard’s Butchers, and Kemp’s Fruit and Veg and congratulated them on their awards. Mr Wild said: “During Covid-19 so many people across West Norfolk stepped up to help others who were vulnerable. That strong sense of community underpins our area and it is great to see those tremendous efforts reflected through the Love West Norfolk heroes awards.”

The Love West Norfolk campaign together with the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk will be announcing the heroes over the next few weeks. So far, the following heroes have been named:

1. Ben Handley, Chef Patron, The Duck Inn Stanhoe

Ben Handley was nominated for ‘cooking and delivering hot meals to the NHS over the period of lockdown.’ Ben said: “I am delighted to have been named a Love West Norfolk hero, but there have been hundreds of us, all doing our bit to help others in our community.  The pandemic has been truly awful for so many people, but it has also brought a lot of us closer together and taught us the real value of this special corner of Norfolk.”

2. Lynx Bus company

The team at Lynx Bus has been chosen as Love West Norfolk heroes. Their nomination read: ‘Living in an isolated village, the buses continuing to offer a service throughout the lockdown has been a real lifeline to many who have no alternative way to shop or collect medication.”

Graham Smith from Lynx said: “When the certificate and letter came in the post we couldn’t believe it! The certificate will mean so much to our staff, many of whom have been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic and we’re thankful to them and also whoever nominated us”.

3. Mr Bun The Baker

Along with Richard’s Butchers and Kemp’s Fruit and Veg, Mr Bun the Baker was named as a Love West Norfolk hero in a nomination which highlighted how the three Hunstanton businesses had been: ‘delivering to those shielded and vulnerable in our area and beyond. We are so lucky to have this high level of service in our community and would like them to know how much we appreciate all they have done.

The team at Mr Bun the Baker said: “We are delighted to be a West Norfolk hero. It was a lovely surprise and we are grateful to those who nominated us. It’s definitely a proud moment!

4. Tapping House, The Norfolk Hospice

The team at Tapping House were named Love West Norfolk heroes and their nominations highlighted: ‘A truly wonderful team who should be honoured everyday not just during a pandemic,’ and they ‘have gone above and beyond and have shown remarkable resilience to continue providing outstanding compassionate care despite the challenges they have faced.’

Tapping House CEO Lyndsay Carter said: “We were absolutely thrilled to receive the news that we were chosen as Love West Norfolk Heroes. We are wearing our badges and have displayed our certificate with pride! I am so very proud of all of my team at the Hospice and am so glad they are getting the recognition they very much deserve.”

5. Oliver Needham

Oliver Needham was named a Love West Norfolk hero for his work on the frontline supporting people during Covid-19, and his voluntary work with St John Ambulance.

Oliver said: “I feel very humbled and I feel that I’m not the only hero within West Norfolk. Everyone I worked with is a hero.  I began to work 14 hour shifts most days and would still be attending my foundation degree as well by fitting this in around everything I do. During the time I was away I had worked over 1000 hours in the four months I was redeployed with the NHS. During my break times I would then participate within my St John Ambulance activity where I would coordinate members from around Norfolk to volunteer and support hospitals such as Nightingale in London and supporting Addenbrookes.”

6. The Crossings Veterinary Centre

The Crossings Veterinary Centre was nominated because it ‘has been instrumental in providing safe and sound advice to local pet owners in West Norfolk since the pandemic began.’ The nominator added: I am so grateful to them for setting such a good example and I’m so proud to have such a great business with professional staff in our community.

The team at the Crossings said:  “We all feel incredibly honoured and quite humbled to have been noticed, nominated and now chosen as a West Norfolk hero! Our team has worked tirelessly during the lockdown and in the subsequent months that followed. We would like to thank the amazing person who nominated us, it really does mean so much to know what a difference we made to the local area!

 7. Gary Walker

Gary Walker’s nomination read: “Gary is a very active member of the community and, in particular, the running community. There’s never a favour too big or small where Gary is concerned and I think he plays a huge role in the mental health of the community.”

Gary said: “I was very humbled and flattered to have been nominated for what I saw as a brilliant community award for those who had done good for the community here in West Norfolk throughout the pandemic although I never for one moment thought had done anything worthy enough to be nominated. It therefore came as a great surprise to receive the award and to say I was thrilled was an understatement.”

Caroline Shaw, Chief Executive of the QEH  has also been named a Love West Norfolk hero.  Caroline said: “I am absolutely, honoured and thrilled to have been selected as a Love West Norfolk Hero. I am really passionate about improving care for our local community and it’s amazing that people have recognised this.”

Love West Norfolk and the Borough Council will be announcing more Love West Norfolk heroes in the coming weeks. You can find out who they are by following Love West Norfolk on Twitter: @LoveWestNorfolk on Facebook Love West Norfolk, and on Instagram: love_west_norfolk