Meet Vicky, one of our Community Heros!

Lockdown has brought out the best in many people over the last few months, but there are some whose selfless dedication to others deserves special recognition. NHS staff, carers, teachers, cashiers, delivery drivers, refuse collectors and many, many more have all played their part in keeping the region going over the last 12 weeks. It’s thanks to their bravery, kindness, consideration, and self-sacrifice that we’ve all been able to carry on as safely and securely as possible. Community has always been at the heart of everything we do here at Adnams, which is why we asked you to nominate your true Community Heroes - those whose actions have helped make a difference to others in their hour of need. We had hundreds of entries, but our three worthy winners - each of whom is now looking forward to a night’s stay at one of our fantastic venues across Norfolk and Suffolk – really stood out for their unshakeable community spirit. Thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate someone – it’s been truly heart-warming to read so many inspirational tales and remind ourselves why we’re so proud to call this part of the world our home.

A&E matron misses twin’s birthdays to keep them safe from Coronavirus

Vicky Barnes is typical of the selfless spirit that has kept our NHS going in the face of Covid-19 over the last few months.

But the A&E Matron at Harlow’s Princess Alexandra Hospital went even further than most when she made the heart-breaking decision to temporarily move out of home at the start of lockdown in order to protect her husband Steve and three children Ettilie, 15, and twins Cameron and Freya, 14, from the virus.

They all kept in touch via FaceTime most evenings, but the sacrifice was even greater for Vicky as she missed the twins’ birthdays.

“Obviously it was very difficult being away from the family, I missed them terribly but I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks,” she says, adding: “Freya has Down’s Syndrome and a heart condition, so we decided it would be best for everyone if I moved out until we could be sure it was safe for me to move back.”

But while Vicky was missing her family back home in Catmere End – a pretty rural village just outside Saffron Waldon - she was constantly wowed by the dedication shown by her A&E team as they worked all hours to keep patients safe and provide the best level of care possible.

Much of their attention at the start of lockdown was focused on helping set up an emergency respiratory unit in case the hospital had an influx of patients with breathing problems.

“Setting up something like that usually takes about two months, but we ended up turning it around in a week,” Vicky said, adding: “The team were amazing – everyone mucked in together and it’s still an incredible feeling to see something we all worked so hard to set up, being used to look after the most needy patients.”

Vicky was nominated for a Community Hero award by her neighbour Iain Keys, who said: We would all really like Vicky to win. She has gone through a huge sacrifice to keep working for the NHS and ensure her family remain safe. She is our village hero!”

Vicky is now looking forward to a well-deserved stay at The Cross Keys, in Aldeburgh following her win.