Emma Hurrell, from Stroud, will have a train named after her to celebrate her community work during the pandemic.
She was nominated by listeners to become one of BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s ‘Make a Difference Superstars’ and will have a high-speed Great Western Railway (GWR) train named after her.
Working at the Brimscombe based charity The Long Table to help source produce and create links to farms, Emma changed her role completely to help serve her community with the onset of COVID-19.
Working long hours, she and her team at the Long Table ensured that meals were cooked and delivered safely, pioneering a new way to get food out to the most vulnerable at a time when supermarket shelves were empty.
They delivered 40,000 meals across Gloucestershire, with 80 percent being free. Her and the team fed NHS frontline workers, people in homeless shelters, those on low incomes and people who were shielding or quarantining as part of a countrywide offering from the charity.
Emma said: “I knew that a lot of people were struggling to get food, the supermarkets were empty at this point, so it seemed crazy to shut down and leave people cut short. We wanted to pitch in and make sure that everybody had access to good food.
“It was such a massive team effort and I’m representing a huge number of people. Our team in Stroud, the kitchen team and drivers, all made it happen.”
Shariff Mahmood, who nominated Emma, said she has an ‘open heart’, and does not like letting others down.
GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton said: “The GWR has a long and proud history of naming trains after Great Westerners – past and present heroes from across our network – and to that list now we can add the name of Emma Hurrell from the BBC Radio Gloucestershire region.
“It has been a privilege to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign and learn more about those people who have helped to make such a huge difference in their communities during the pandemic.
“Listening to BBC Radio Gloucestershire we were particularly overwhelmed by the stories of this winner and I hope our train-naming ceremonies will serve as a fitting tribute to her.”
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “I have been blown away by the efforts of all the COVID-19 heroes during the course of the pandemic. Their dedication and compassion has been truly heart-warming, and made a huge difference in their communities.
“These trains will be a lasting reminder of all those who have gone the extra mile to keep this country going.”