After looking after others during the pandemic, an NHS nurse and teacher from Chipping Norton both received a deserved treat on Valentine's Day.
Samantha and Paul Butler-McLees were nominated by their good friend, Catherine Ball, for a special meal delivered to their home, as part of a offer by Oakman Inns.
Michael Cowley, Oakman Inns’ deputy general manager at the Blue Boar in Witney, personally delivered a four-course Valentine’s Day meal to their home - plus a bottle of fizz, a bunch of flowers for the table and a £100 voucher to spend on a meal at one of the 28 Oakman Inns when pubs are allowed to re-open.
Sam said: “We were surprised and delighted that we have received this lovely meal from Oakman Inns.
"We, like many others, just do the jobs we love in somewhat extraordinary circumstances, but it’s great to be acknowledged.
"All in all, the evening was warm, decadent and a lovely excuse to stop and spend some QT with each other. Something we haven’t had much time for recently. Thank you.”
Sam and Paul met 12 years ago on a First Aid training course that Paul was facilitating.
Sam is a teacher at Mabel Prichard School in Blackbird Leys, Oxford, a primary school for children with special educational needs, where she teaches Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1.
During the first lockdown, she was in the school and currently she is also supporting parents virtually, having to adapt and cater for children in a wide variety of situations with a huge range of individual needs.
Paul works in patient safety in a local NHS trust and during the pandemic he has been working as a community nurse in Witney and Chipping Norton.
Although he has now returned to his regular job in patient safety, he continues to support the district nursing teams at weekends.
On top of this, Paul volunteers as a Community First Responder for the South Central Ambulance Service and is on call every evening and at weekends.
They live with three children AJ 16, Freddie 13 and Alannah who is 10. Despite the fact that they are both key workers, they chose to home school their two youngest children to minimize the spread of the virus.
Paul added: “It looks like the vaccine and current restrictions are the route out of this pandemic and we will soon be able to enjoy the company of friends, good food and a cold pint in a pub soon.”