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  • Gareth Bacon

Meet Orpington's Local Heroes

Updated: Aug 5

Across the Orpington constituency, so many people have stepped up and volunteered to help others during the coronavirus crisis.


Thank you to everyone who nominated a local hero, I am pleased many constituents got in touch to commend an individual, group, or business who has stepped up during this crisis. It's more important than ever to celebrate our local heroes, so each day I will be posting a new local hero so we can all recognise their excellent work helping others. I will also be writing to Orpington's local heroes to thank them for their efforts.


If you want to nominate a local hero, please submit your nominations, and I will make sure Orpington's local heroes are celebrated.


Meet Orpington's Local Heroes


⭐️ Local Heroes Liz and Neil Maltman opened a community fridge to help others during lockdown. Their excellent initiative helped people who were struggling to get shopping during this unprecedented crisis. This was a lifeline for many people, and their community have commended them as local heroes.


⭐️ Local Hero Dean Colyer stepped up and cleaned the St Mary Cray recreational park while on furlough leave. For the past four months, Dean has picked up litter in the park on his daily walks, helping to keep the park clean for the local community during this difficult time.


⭐️ Local Hero John Matthews volunteered to be a St John Ambulance emergency crew member during the coronavirus crisis, helping the London Ambulance Service respond to 999 calls across London. To protect his family while he volunteered he stayed away from home and has so far undertaken seventeen 12-hour shifts providingmedical care to those in need.


⭐️ Local Hero Liz Johnston, Chair of the Petts Wood Business Association, has championed and supported local businesses struggling during lockdown. Her efforts have kept the community informed during this uncertain time and promoted local businesses to help Petts Wood bounce back after the coronavirus crisis.


⭐️ Local Hero Martyn Travers organised food and care packages for members of the community who were unable to get their shopping during lockdown. He also helped bring the community together by organising both religious and secular events. Many people were helped and supported by Martyn during this difficult time.

⭐️ Local Heroes SEN Support Staff at Darrick Wood Secondary have been exemplary during this crisis. They continued to teach key workers’ children and vulnerable pupils throughout lockdown. Supported by the school’s Learning Support staff, they went above and beyond to help these children during this challenging crisis. They created months worth of lessons, activities and sport sessions keep them engaged, active, and learning throughout the crisis.


⭐️ Local Hero Chandra Sharma has supported Orpington’s local businesses throughout this crisis as a volunteer for the Federation of Small Business. While running his own business, Chandra has been leading a Business Continuity team and organising webinars to help the local economy bounce back after this crisis.

⭐️ Local Heroes Gill Hazlett and Jane Kelly are volunteer fire cadet instructors in the borough of Bromley. Throughout the crisis, they have stepped up to deliver virtual cadet nights and keep young people engaged on a weekly basis.Their energy and enthusiasm during this difficult time has made a tremendous impact on not only the young cadets but the Orpington fire station team.

⭐️ Local Hero Dr Sunil Gupta has stepped up during this crisis by organising free food delivery to NHS workers at local hospitals from caterers and restaurants from Orpington. Sunil has also organised virtual yoga and meditation classes as well as webinars on wellbeing and mental health.


⭐️ Local Hero Gigi Chen, Head Teacher of the Orpington Chinese Language School, has raised £25,000 and provided PPE for hospitals in both Wuhan and Bromley. Gigi and her students’ excellent efforts have helped fight coronavirus both in the UK and China.


⭐️ Local Hero Dr Geoffrey Barker has gone above and beyond to help a resident battle cancer during this pandemic. He helped the family through this extraordinarily difficult time as coronavirus delayed the constituent’s operation and without him the family say they would have been stuck in limbo.


⭐️ Local Hero Father Victor Vella organised support for anyone who needed help during lockdown, offering to collect shopping and support people with a friendly phone call. Together with the team of volunteers, he has helped many people through this difficult time.


⭐️ Local Heroes Help Orpington NHS set up a free shop for NHS workers close to Princess

Royal University Hospital (PRUH). The initiative helped more than 5,000 of the hospital’s staff get food while they were working tirelessly to save lives. Thank you to the volunteers and local businesses who created this wonderful project.


⭐️ Local Heroes Raju Patel & Eldred Drive Premier Foods donated daily to the Help Orpington NHS free shop. The shop was set up close to Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) to help NHS workers get shopping during the crisis. Raj and his team’s efforts helped the free shop support more than 5,000 of the hospital’s staff.


⭐️ Local Hero Sumeet Jalan has volunteered throughout the coronavirus crisis, helping people to get shopping and other essentials. Sumeet’s efforts have helped many people who were shielding, vulnerable and self-isolating.


⭐️ Local Hero Noreen Nelson has stepped up during this crisis to help her best friend battle cancer for the 3rd time. Despite being high risk herself, Noreen has collected her best friend’s prescriptions and shopping to keep her safe.


⭐️ Local Hero Amanda Stone, Project Manager at the Bromley Borough Foodbank, has supported many people struggling during the coronavirus crisis. Amanda and the foodbank’s team have provided people across the borough with food as this cruel virus closed businesses, jobs ended, and supermarket shelves lay empty after panic buying.

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© 2020 by Gareth Bacon

Promoted by Cllr Mike Botting on behalf of Gareth Bacon, both of 6 Sevenoaks Road, Orpington, Kent, BR6 9JJ