Banbury woman awarded OBE for services to charitable food provision during Covid-19

A Banbury woman and her charity work during the Covid pandemic was among three people recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours across Banburyshire

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:42 pm
Jo Dyson, who is from Banbury and serves as the head of food at the charity FareShare, was named an Order of the British Empire (OBE) ‘for services to charitable food provision during Covid-19’.

A Banbury woman became one of three people from a UK charity fighting hunger and food waste to be recognised for their vital work during the pandemic in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Jo Dyson, who is from Banbury and serves as the head of food at the charity FareShare was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) ‘for services to charitable food provision during Covid-19’.

Jo led the expansion of FareShare’s Food Team operations at the start of lockdown as demand for food soared. At the height of the pandemic FareShare was redistributing 3.6m meals every week. Jo also oversaw the purchase of emergency food provision through the two DEFRA grants.

Jo Dyson, OBE, said: “This honour is in recognition of everyone involved in supporting FareShare to deliver its mission for their outstanding commitment, dedication and hard work during the last year.

”Despite being an extremely challenging time for the food industry their support for FareShare was incredible and made our work possible.”

FareShare helps reduce waste across the food industry by redistributing surplus food through a national network of warehouses and 11,000 frontline charities.

Between April 2020 and March 2021 FareShare redistributed more than fifty-five thousand (55,000) tonnes of food to vulnerable people - the equivalent of nearly 132 million meals, or four meals every second.

During the pandemic FareShare was also asked to deliver two major multi-million-pound DEFRA grants to purchase food and get it to those in need.

It also ran a highly successful campaign with its Ambassador, Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford, to help prevent millions of children who rely on free school meals from going hungry during lockdown.

The charity was recognised during the Queen's Birthday Honours with three separate awards. Its CEO Lindsay Boswell receives a CBE, former London Development Manager Rachel Ledwith an MBE and Banbury resident Jo Dyson an OBE.

Lindsay Boswell, CBE, said: "Rachel, Jo and I are all humbled to be included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

"We are all agreed on one thing, though. Whilst the awards are only presented to individuals, this MBE, OBE and CBE are in recognition of the efforts of every single one of FareShare UK staff, our incredible national Network of delivery partners, the army of volunteers and 11,000 charities who make it happen on the frontline. We are proud to accept these awards on behalf of every single one of them."

Jo Dyson is one of three people from across Banburyshire to receive awards in the Queen's Birthday Honours. The following other people were also recognised:

- Ruth Anne Llewellin Todd, from Banbury, given an CBE for services to the Covid-19 vaccine delivery. She serves as director of programmes with the Vaccine Taskforce for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

- Abigail Kathryn Sheridan De Graaff, from Shipston, given an BEM for services to the Warwickshire Scrubbers and to the provision of PPE during Covid-19.