Virgin Media’s Local Legends nominees announced

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Virgin Media
Asher Harris
by Asher Harris
20 October 2020

There are some incredible people and non-profit organisations in Glasgow and Leeds who have been making a difference in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Virgin Media asked residents of both cities to nominate the people and organisations they felt should be recognised for their incredible work. A flood of exceptional nominations came through, and it was tough to whittle it down to just five from each city. 

A panel of judges including the nation’s hero, centenarian Captain Sir Tom Moore, his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, and TV presenter and author, Konnie Huq, will help select a winner from each city. 

Leeds Nominees

1.  Bramley Elderly Action

Bramley Elderly Action is an organisation that is constantly thinking of and implementing ways to improve the lives of the elderly.

Since COVID, the volunteers and staff have been working tirelessly to provide a shopping and befriending service for those isolated in their own homes.

2. The Swan Song Project

The Swan Song Project gives people facing the end of their life and bereavement the opportunity to write and record their own original song.

“Ben worked predominantly face to face in local hospices. This can't happen now because of the pandemic and the vulnerability of the people he works with. He has, however, found a way to continue supporting these people by setting up a studio from home and writing songs and making music together, albeit remotely.

3. Christine Kearsley

For over 10 years Christine has helped countless people with their care needs, including some at the end of their lives. She has worked with local charities like Bramley Elderly Action and Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley. She currently visits two elderly and vulnerable people several times a week to support them in their own homes. 

4. Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS)

PAFRAS has been working with refugees and asylum seekers in the Leeds area throughout the lockdown and this COVID period, sometimes going beyond the core immigration advice and food supplies that they often provide. 

They took over the work of the Red Cross in Leeds as the Red Cross didn’t have enough staff who could work during the COVID period.

5. Chris Egan

During the lockdown, Chris continued his duties of being a Head of Year to his year group at school.

He ensured all of his students were safe, well, and fed by ensuring all free school meals were prepared. He sent daily emails to his year group, offering help and support to those who needed it. He was their "go-to" person for matters that didn't even relate to school. He offered counselling to families in need and continued to set high-quality lessons so they didn't fall behind in their studies.

Glasgow Nominees

1. Sean Beggans

Sean works in a hospital as a host/cleaner in an elderly care ward, in addition to cleaning COVID wards. These are the people who are the lowest-paid workers in the NHS and often forgotten about when we think about those putting their lives at risk. 

Despite the risk to his health, he was determined to keep the hospital clean for the doctors and nurses. 

2. The Golden Friendships charity

The Golden Friendships charity quickly adapted to a new way of life.

They set up singers to give both live and recorded performances to members and the wider community. 

They also made and delivered packed lunches to vulnerable members of the community.

3. Barbara Higginson

Despite being in poor health, Barbara managed to hold her family together in times of great loss and hardship and has selflessly sought to help everyone in the family and in her wider community during these hardest of times.

From keeping the local bus drivers fed and watered when they've been really busy, to checking on her elderly friends and making sure they have company when they’re lonely, she’s always given everything for everyone else.

4. Qashaf Ahmed

Despite all his personal challenges, Qashaf uses his experience as a former IT engineer to help others to stay in touch for free, by fixing any technical problems. 

5. Nikki Love

Nikki has been a full-time nurse for over two years, working tirelessly, with throughout the pandemic to save lives.

The lucky winners will be notified no later than Friday 23 October 2020.

Each winner will receive a personalised technology makeover worth up to £10,000, including Virgin Media’s blisteringly-fast Gig1 Fibre broadband for two years.