Co-op colleagues recognised as everyday Covid heroes in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Two Co-op colleagues have received recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their response to the Covid crisis and work to keep communities fed throughout the pandemic.

Liz Mclean, Store Manager at Co-op’s Brodick stores on the Isle of Arran, received the recognition as a frontline food retail worker for services to the Covid19 response. Liz was nominated for putting her store at the centre of the Isle of Arran’s community response to the crisis, including working round the clock to ensure deliveries were made to hundreds of elderly and vulnerable members of the community so that no one went without. The community focus also ensured liaising with local foodbanks and social services, while playing an active role in the Island’s resilience service. Liz has become a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM).

In addition, Jean Marie Hughes, was recognised for services to the Food Supply Chain during Covid-19. The pivotal role that Jean Marie – who lives on Merseyside and works as a Trade Improvement and Response Manager – plays in working closely with frontline retail workers and the Co-op’s central support centre was highlighted in the citation. With safety for colleagues and customers a number one priority, Jean Marie’s tireless work ensured feedback and insight from Co-op’s 2,600 food stores was gathered, prioritised and acted upon – initiating and implementing a range of key measures in communities to ensure colleagues, customers and the most vulnerable in society were supported throughout. Jean Marie becomes a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Liz Mclean, said: “It was a feeling of disbelief when I received the letter, I thought it was a joke at first! I love our customers to bits, they are brilliant. And, the way the community has responded has been incredible. Local businesses, volunteers, community groups, the local authorities and especially the Port Manager of Calmac, all co-operating and helping the community to get through this together. In addition, the whole Co-op team has been fantastic – so it feels like this is as much in recognition of all their hard work too. I really am delighted.”

Jean Marie Hughes, added: “I never expected anything like this. It really hasn’t sunk in as yet – it is an incredible feeling to be recognised and honoured in this way.”

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