In the midst of what feels like a never-ending lockdown it’s easy to find ourselves focusing on the negative side of life. It’s important to remind ourselves there is still plenty of good in the world, and a recent scroll through local Tandridge groups on Facebook reminded us of this.
We found people donating to food banks, raising money for charities, offering rides to hospital appointments, directing traffic at vaccination centres, baking tasty treats for key workers, sewing PPE for healthcare staff, and creating free online classes and activities to keep bored minds busy. We found cafes and restaurants donating free meals to children and the elderly, businesses offering free printing for home-schooling and florists handing out free flowers just to make people smile.
We got a much-needed lift from discovering the fantastic community spirit around us and so in January we asked you to nominate your Tandridge Heroes. Our first four are:
Sarah Abellán – South Nutfield
Sarah, of South Nutfield, was nominated by neighbour Julia Burnell.
“Sarah is so well-thought of by everybody in our street. She has made a huge effort to bring cheer to us all during the last year, including organising a socially-distant 80th birthday party for a neighbour and a spirit-lifting VE Day celebration, as well as co-ordinating a charity Christmas Advent Calendar window display. She also cooked and delivered a Christmas Day lunch to somebody on our road.”
Many other neighbours agreed. Peter Forbes says:
“Sarah is always willing to help in any way and is a supportive resident of our street!”
Deano Cline – Whyteleafe & Kenley
Sara Jones has nominated Deano for all he does in Whyteleafe and Kenley.
In November 2020 he raised funds for two local charities who have set up support groups for those affected by the pandemic. He also, alongside Sara, formed the ‘Whyteleafe Community Hub’ to organise food supplies, wellbeing support and more to their community. They organised the ‘10 Days of Giving’ appeal for Christmas, asking residents to donate food, toiletries, luxury items and toys, which were then distributed to local families. People could also donate their time for activities such as picking up prescriptions, walking dogs, gardening or simply offering companionship to those who needed it.
Through the Whyteleafe & Kenley Facebook page, Deano ensures residents are kept informed of important issues and supports local businesses, too.
“Deano has been a hero in Whyteleafe and Kenley. He’s organised the community to get involved, donate and keep us all connected throughout this difficult time. He is a total star!”
Andy Parr – Caterham
Andy has been nominated by John Morris:
“I would like to nominate Andy as a Hero, for the unstinting effort he puts into his work for the town. He drives Dial-a-Ride buses and organises the Caterham Street Party and Food Festival. He also helps run the Soper Hall – all voluntarily.”
Andy has served his community in numerous ways, including involvements with Caterham Round Table, Caterham Scouts, the Tandridge Voluntary Service Council, the Caterham Barracks Community Trust, the Tandridge Community Fund, Caterham Rotary and the Caterham Community Partnership.
In January 2021, Andy returned to work driving ambulances for the London Ambulance Service, after they appealed for ex-police officers to support their paramedics.
“The Queen has honoured Andy with an MBE for services to the community of Caterham, now it’s time for his home town to recognise his contribution!”
Patrick Deeley – Godstone
Flower Farm shop manager, Emily Davies, tells us that Patrick set up the farm’s online shop two weeks before the start of the first lockdown in March, so he could ensure a supply of locally-produced food for those in the community who were vulnerable or self-isolating.
He started a box scheme, offering fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk, bread and meat, before then donating weekly boxes to the NHS and local schools. Patrick also helped out fellow farmers who lost business due to restaurant closures, by buying their surplus milk, bread and eggs. He then gave these to customers, either as a free gift for themselves, or for them to pass them on to their neighbours as a way of encouraging community spirit.
“Patrick worked every day for weeks to get the scheme up and running, including answering the phone and taking orders! After the first lockdown he continued donating food boxes to families in need, plus food and vouchers to schools, and raised money for a Crawley hospice by selling their hand-made facemasks in the shop.
Patrick truly is a hero!”
We would like to say a huge thank you to our four Heroes and everybody else who has given their time to help their community.
In March’s Caterham Independent we will feature another set of Tandridge Heroes.