Five Morrisons colleagues are among those named in this year's Queen’s New Years honours list - each receiving a British Empire Medal - for their tireless efforts to support local communities and deliver essential services throughout the pandemic.
Working across Morrisons stores and sites, their hard work and determination has led to thousands of food bank donations, higher safety measures across Morrisons stores and more food on shelves during this unprecedented year.
Morrisons Chief Executive, David Potts said:
“Our colleagues have risen to the challenge through Covid-19, supporting customers and each other in an extremely difficult year. I want to say thank you to Michelle, Neil, Myra, Pam and Ella - for their enormous contributions to their local communities and the business. We are extremely proud of all they have achieved, along with thousands of our colleagues who have gone above and beyond this year.”
Michelle Leary - Community Champion, Basingstoke
Michelle Leary is a ‘Community Champion’ in Morrisons Basingstoke. Throughout Covid-19, Michelle has played a key role in supporting her local community, helping to ensure elderly, vulnerable and isolated customers have access to essentials through the Morrisons Doorstep Delivery Service - where customers can place a groceries order over the phone and have it delivered the next day by their local store.
As well as supporting the vulnerable and elderly with their shopping, in May this year, Michelle had a simple yet effective idea that would transform the way Morrisons stores support their local food banks and would go on to provide tens of thousands of products to those experiencing food insecurity.
Michelle Leary said:
“I had this idea to create ‘pick-up packs’ at the front of the store for customers to help donate to food banks. I’d call my local groups and find out the items they needed the most, then create my ‘pick-up packs’ in paper bags and label them with the price for the items. Customers could then pick one up, pay for the bag with their shopping, and drop them off on their way out. I’m just so happy I was able to help and really just wanted to do my bit for my community.”
Myra Smith - Community Champion, Dumfries
Myra Smith is a ‘Community Champion’ at Morrisons Dumfries who’s work supporting her local community throughout the pandemic has gone far and wide. At the start of the Pandemic, Myra began posting notes to vulnerable neighbours offering to pick up essential shopping items for them and delivering them after she finished work. At Easter, she delivered over 500 Easter eggs to support local key workers and hand-delivered Easter eggs to doorsteps of houses where children had put rainbow displays in the window in support of the NHS.
Myra has worked round the clock to offer support to those in need in her local community. Forming strong bonds with many of her store’s elderly and vulnerable customers, she often takes calls on evenings and weekends to organise their shopping for them. As well as supporting customers, Myra quickly saw the effect the lockdown was having on her own store colleagues working long, tiring days in the supermarket. So to boost morale, she began hosting ‘Myra’s Saturday Night Bingo’ on Facebook from home. The bingo became an instant success, giving her fellow colleagues something to look forward to after a hard day at work.
Myra Smith said:
“I can’t thank Morrisons enough for giving me the time and resources to do my job. Helping my community is something I love to do and will carry on as best I can.”
Neil Ferries - Warehouse Manager, Kent
As a Warehouse Manager for Morrisons based in Kent. Neil played a vital role at the start of the pandemic safeguarding the delivery of fresh foods including ham, cheese and butter to around 80 Morrisons stores in the south of England where local residents would have faced empty shelves after issues developed at a Morrisons warehouse in Bridgewater, Somerset.
Neil was drafted in to resolve the issues the warehouse was facing and help keep the supermarket shelves well stocked. Stepping up to the challenge, Neil travelled 200 miles away from his family home in Kent with his wife and two young children to Bridgewater to work at his new base for the next eight weeks. Managing a team of around 300 colleagues across various shifts, Neil turned around the site and managed to stabilise deliveries to Morrisons stores. It was an exceptional achievement given the scale of the issue at a time of unprecedented demand for key essential items.
Neil Ferries said:
“I knew at the time it was a no-brainer that I had to go. Moving away from my wife and kids was really hard, but we were facing severe challenges at the site that I knew I could help with. I’m glad to have played my part in feeding the nation and am proud of everything the team achieved to turn things around there for customers.”
Pam Abbott - Community Champion, Wakefield
Pam Abbott is a ‘Community Champion’ at a Morrisons depot in Wakefield. As the Pandemic began to unfold, Pam found herself inundated with requests for essential supplies from charity groups supporting the most vulnerable.
Faced with the challenge, Pam worked tirelessly to ensure fresh foods and other essentials continued to make their way to local food banks, youth groups and animal shelters when donations from their regular sources were running low. Rallying round her warehouse team to help her support their community. Pam also used her contacts across the depot to ensure any food that was safe to eat but didn’t make its way to stores was given to local food banks – personally driving a refrigerated van across Wakefield to drop off the supplies. This has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic.
Pam Abbott said:
“I live and breathe for my community and helping charities is part of my DNA. Each time I got a call or email, I would rally round the team at the depot to make sure we could support as much as we could. It’s been an honour to help those in need and I’m grateful for all the people who have helped me this year to care for those less fortunate.”
Ella Collins - Occupational Health Manager
Ella has consistently gone above and beyond in supporting Morrisons thousands of colleagues and working with Public Health England to manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, Ella quickly established robust safety processes on reporting positive cases of Covid-19 for colleagues and managers to follow so that stores could continue to operate, providing essential groceries to customers.
Ella continuously supported teams answering calls on evenings and weekends to ensure that processes and guidance were fully understood and implemented. Thanks to Ellas support and guidance, action could be taken to protect and support colleagues who continued to work, with processes in place for colleagues who were required to self isolate or shield.
Ella Collins said:
“I suppose at the beginning we were going through something that nobody had ever experienced before. Supporting people is what I do best in my job, so being there for the managers so that they could support their teams through Covid was just what I did. I didn’t think about the hours or late nights, it was just about supporting and protecting colleagues so that we could continue to be there for customers in store.”