PR man honoured for services to West Norfolk
- Credit: Chris Bishop
When the hospitality trade stepped up to the plate to supports its community through lockdown, Andrew Waddison was there to spread the word.
Now the businessman from Burnham Market has been honoured by the Queen in her Platinum Jubilee New Years Honours List.
Mr Waddison, 41, said it came as "a huge shock" when he learned he had been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to West Norfolk.
He added: "I own a PR and marketing business in Norfolk, specialising in the hospitality trade, and as Covid struck I immediately informed my customers that I would work free of charge throughout any lockdowns, and a few weeks later extended that offer to any Norfolk business or charity who needed our services.
"Nobody has escaped the effects of the pandemic, and I was lucky enough to be in a position to help those who did so much for our local community."
Mr Waddison said hospitality businesses he works with were devastated by the announcement they would have to close, in March 2020.
"To see so many hard working people in tears and fearful for their jobs, security and health was heartbreaking," he said.
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"What followed was nothing short of inspirational as businesses and communities rallied round to support each other, and I was honoured to play my part in helping these people who went above and beyond to provide for us all."
Ben and Sarah Handley at the Duck Inn, at Stanhoe, near Burnham Market, donated food to homeless charity the Purfleet Trust and made meals for the NHS and ambulance service.
"They worked on a rota system with the Old Bank in Snettisham and the Neptune in Old Hunstanton as part of the Food4Heroes Scheme to ensure that these incredible people could receive the sustenance they needed in the most trying of times," said Mr Waddison.
"Equipment was donated by Nick and Lynn Handley of the Main Event Catering Company to help with the preparation of these meals at the Duck Inn."
Michael Baldwin at the Wenns Chop and Ale House and Bank House in King’s Lynn gave free accommodation to key workers.
Barsham Brewery teamed up with the Hoste Arms to provide beer and hot meals to hundreds of vulnerable and elderly people in the Burnham Market area.
The Jolly Brewers in Shouldham created a village shop as well as takeaways and a £12,000 give back scheme to their customers.
Jeannette and Anthony Goodrich at the Rose and Crown in Snettisham produced takeaways and even a village shop selling fresh produce from local suppliers.
They created roast turkey dinners to enjoy on Christmas Day for those who were isolating and continued that this year. As the first lockdown ended, the Rose and Crown hosted Prince William as the first customer for many months, effectively relaunching the UK hospitality industry and injecting some much needed positivity to the trade.
"Across Norfolk, businesses went above and beyond in the most inspiring ways during the darkest of times, and I sincerely hope that the goodwill to all continues long beyond this awful pandemic," said Mr Waddison.
"Our independent local businesses were there for us during the crisis, and we must all be there to support them as they recover, now more than ever.
"All of these wonderful people were backed up by their loyal staff who volunteered to support their communities, and this recognition is for them all. My job was simply to give up my time to help these extraordinary heroes in any way I could.”