Afternoon Tea Competition

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Unsung community heroes win delicious afternoon tea!


The last few weeks have seen our local communities come together, co-operating and caring for one another. We have seen people from the community volunteer their time and kindness to ensure that people in need were, and continue to be, supported. 

To highlight all the great things that have happened over recent months and to celebrate Co-op's Fortnight, we ran a competition to win 10 afternoon tea prizes to thank some of those volunteers. We asked people to nominate their unsung community hero and tell us why they deserved a well-earned Afternoon Tea, including some Sourced Locally treats.  We also rewarded the people who took the time to nominate them. We even delivered the afternoon tea to their door! 

The sense of community in each nomination was truly heart-warming; from individuals making scrubs for the NHS to people caring for the vulnerable in their neighbourhoods.

With over 115 nominations, we are thrilled to announce our winners and share their truly inspirational stories.


Michelle Gower, Stowmarket - nominated by Wendy Harlett

'When the crisis first hit, Michelle took a call at Stowhealth , where she works, from a gentleman was in a distressed state, enquiring how he was supposed to get food. Michelle immediately offered to help this man, who had no family. 12 weeks later, she is still helping the man!'

Zoe Arnett, Colchester - nominated by Marisa Winzar

'Zoe has been amazing organising the Facebook page “Colchester Scrubs”. The group have made 100s of scrubs for NHS, care and community homes in and around Colchester. She spends so much time organising and I think she is absolutely amazing.' 

Linda Armour, Clacton On Sea - nominated by Carole Parmenter

'For the whole of the 13 weeks of lockdown, Linda has been Queen Sewing Bee selflessly making hundreds of face masks, scrub bags and ear defenders for NHS staff at Colchester Hospital, local Care Homes, our 129 Ladies Club and now, by request, a Dementia Club in Hertfordshire. Linda so deserves a treat. Linda has personally produced over 500 items.'

Cherry McKean, Earls Colne - nominated by Emily George

'Cherry organised a Facebook support group and a telephone system in collaboration with Earls Colne Parish Council to help, protect and support the elderly, vulnerable and people in isolation. If anybody was in need of anything and could not leave home, Cherry would organise somebody from the group to go to the shops or chemist.'


Sam Wilson, Mersea Island - nominated by Emma Vince

'Sam has headed up a team of community volunteers on Mersea Island. She has been shopping for many people who are vulnerable, collecting prescriptions, ensuring people get hot meals and posting on social media every week to tell us all what the bin men will be collecting! She has recruited and managed over 50 volunteers and leafleted the entire island to ask if they needed any support when we went into lockdown. She also got meals on wheels set up and running.'

Debra Hornigold, West Bergholt - nominated by Margaret Neish

'For months Debra has been cooking cakes and biscuits in a single oven for key workers. She boxes them up for collection by the various recipients to collect. She has baked 1000s of items. NHS, essential services such as teachers, firefighters and funeral directors have received them. Debra has received donations of food products from residents so that she can keep baking.'

Jo Hogger, Hadleigh - nominated by Faith Archer

'Jo has been an amazing team leader for our group of 'Hadleigh Cares' volunteers. We’ve helped older and vulnerable people during lockdown with shopping, collecting prescriptions, running errands and walking dogs. Jo has motivated and organised us, drawing up rotas, arranging phone contact, reporting back at Zoom meetings and going above and beyond to help our part of Hadleigh.'

Tracey Dockery, Ipswich - nominated by Alison Archbold

'Tracey volunteers in her community of North West Ipswich . She helped set up and run a new foodbank at Castle Hill Community Centre during lockdown. She helped with the fresh food Friday boxes by advertising, taking referrals and supporting people in her community as a volunteer. She also helps with two community allotment projects in her patch.'

Maria Willis, Norwich - nominated by Eloise O'Hare (pictured)

'Maria has been cooking and providing hot meals for the homeless for years as well as during Covid19 where numbers grew. She also cooked meals for vulnerable people who were not managing and delivered them around the city. Maria is my Norfolk Hero!'

Mark Cracknell, Stallham - nominated by Sharon Kelly

'Mark moved to our community shortly before lockdown. He had opened a little shop but had to close. He has donated so much stock to volunteers, party items to a Captain Tom Party, prizes for a children's photography competition. He hardly knew anyone before but has kept us all smiling with his sense of humour and cookery tips on Facebook. All this despite living alone and his family living away.'