Last weekend Stagecoach and Oxford Tube celebrated the county’s local heroes who worked tirelessly to support their local community during the pandemic.
Residents nominated more than 100 local heroes in total, all with selfless and inspiring stories. Of those nominated, 12 winners and their plus ones were taken on a brand-new state-of-the-art Oxford Tube coach to join Stagecoach for afternoon tea at the London Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel.
Those in attendance were nominated by friends, family, and colleagues for a variety of reasons, showcasing the breadth of support the community provided throughout the pandemic. The nominations included medical and care professionals and those working to create and administer vaccines, alongside community heroes working to help deliver essentials to the vulnerable and raising money for charity.
Rachel Geliamassi, managing director at Stagecoach West, which is responsible for services in Oxfordshire and the Oxford Tube, said: “Supporting the local community is at the heart of what we do, so it was important to us that we give something back to our fellow keyworkers who have played a vital part in keeping Oxfordshire running during the pandemic.
"It was heart-warming reading the nominations of amazing things people have done throughout the past 18 months to support their local community. We hope everyone who joined us on the day enjoyed their time and took a moment to relax.”
The following people were chosen as keyworker community heroes in the Stagecoach appeal: Michael Hampton, who lives in Banbury, Prabhu Natarajan and his son Addhu, who live in Banbury, Sarah Nash a Thames Valley Police sergeant, who covers the Banbury area, Joan Tickell, Rachel Scurr, Verity Piggott, Maxine Grout and Byeonghun Lim.
Garry Williams and Tammy Foster aka Mr Mayhem and TamTastic from The Mr Mayhem Show were also nominated as winners in the Stagecoach community hero scheme. They had bookings last weekend and could not attend the day out in London event. They were nominated for the their 'silly Saturday Facebook live shows' they did during lockdown.
Prabhu Natarajan and his seven-year-old son, Addhu, were nominated for their service to the community in Banbury during the pandemic. He provided support for people in need across Banbury by regularly delivering food parcels to people in need. He also gave a boost to residents during lockdown by making his deliveries with his son while they were dressed as superheroes and distributed thousands of donated eggs while dressed as the Easter bunny.
Prabhu received the Prime Minister's Points of Light award and an unsung hero award from Banbury MP Victoria Prentis.
Prabhu posted message of thanks on his Facebook page, which said: "Thank you people of Banbury for supporting me and my friend Michael Hampton.
"For our community works, Stagecoach bus is taking our both families today along with few others for a treat to London and our little boy was named as youngest volunteer."
Michael Hampton was named Volunteer of the Year at the Cherwell Volunteer Awards for his work as ‘Mike on a Bike.’ During the pandemic Michael served the community as 'Mike on a Bike' by helping people with shopping and collecting and delivering prescriptions.