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Boro Accolade for Covid Lockdown Meals Hero

By Published November 10, 2020

ONE of the unsung heroes of Middlesbrough's coronavirus pandemic response has been recognised with a top town honour.

John O'Brien's selfless efforts have seen hot meals delivered to those in need throughout the first lockdown period and beyond. 

Since March the semi-retired joiner/decorator has been hand-delivering 50 Sunday lunches and 50 mid-week meals to the elderly and vulnerable across the Cannon Park and town areas.

That's a staggering 1,200-plus meals since the pandemic took hold back in March, and that's not to mention some 600 food parcels also distributed to those in need.

Initially operating entirely on his own, John has since been supported by Teesside Family Foundation and Teesside Help, and now has plans for special Christmas dinner deliveries.

He's also had support from Tom Best at the Green Tree pub with a recent donation of children's clothes worth more than £200 which will be distributed to those in need by Teesside Family Foundation.

John, 49, said: "At the start of the pandemic people were panic-buying for themselves, but I knew there were people who didn't have any food, and elderly and house-bound people who couldn't get any shopping in.

"The pandemic has hit everybody hard, but some people have slipped through the net, and I just wanted to do something to help.

"People can be embarrassed and don't want to ask for help, but they've fallen victim to circumstances beyond their control.

"The pleasure it gives makes the whole thing worthwhile."

And this week Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston recognised John's amazing effort with the October 2020 Boro Hero Award.

He said: "The coronavirus pandemic has been really tough for everyone, but it's also brought out the very best in some amazing people at the heart of our communities.

"John O'Brien typifies that selfless, generous, caring Boro spirit that makes this town what it is.

"He's a credit to himself and Middlesbrough, and he richly deserves this Boro Hero award."



For information on local help and support, visit Help Boro at www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/helpboro or call Middlesbrough Council's support line 01642 729777

The latest advice from Government and Public Health England can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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