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‘So long to lockdown’ competition seeks Northamptonshire COVID-19 hero

As England bids farewell to its third (and hopefully) final lockdown the search to find Northamptonshire’s COVID-19 hero has been launched.

Launched by Smiths Farm Shop and Sauls of Spratton, the two businesses have joined forces to launch the ‘So Long to Lockdown’ competition.

They are seeking someone who has gone above and beyond and has carried on regardless of their personal circumstances over the course of the pandemic.

The winner will receive a hamper of goodies, which will include seasonal produce, locally made luxury products and a range of top-quality meats.

Proprietor of the farm shop, Adrian Smith said: “For more than a year now key workers, volunteers, friends, family and neighbours have kept the county moving during the most challenging and unprecedented of times. Despite the worry and fear, there are people out there who have shown true grit and put others first.

“To mark the third, and hopefully the final, lockdown, we wanted to do something to recognise these fantastic people. Everyone has a story and we want to hear theirs. Why do you think they deserve to win our So Long to Lockdown competition and be named our COVID-19 hero?”

Nomination forms can be found at both farm shops in Billing and Chapel Brampton. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges who will base their decision on the merit of their story and commitment during the pandemic.

Emma Price, one of the directors of the family butchers, added: “We’re sure we’re going to read some pretty impressive stories about brave and committed people.

“We’ve watched key workers keeping the vital services we’ve come to rely on ticking over, neighbours offering to shop for those who may be shielding and people who despite suffering from their own COVID bereavement have continued to think of others.

“As key workers ourselves, we know how tough this year has been on everyone and we thought marking the end of lockdown was the perfect opportunity to reflect on their dedication and say thank you. We’ve been really happy to see some new faces shopping with us this year, and hopefully we can encourage people to stick with us and continue shopping locally.”

The Smith family has been in business since 1958, and Sauls since 1926, so between them they have over 150 years serving the people of Northamptonshire. Proud of their heritage, the companies support like-minded local food producers, providing them with an outlet to sell their homegrown products.

Over the last year Smiths has provided a COVID safe space for their customers and dedicated key worker shopping hours every morning, and Sauls has been delivering orders free to customers who order online or by phone, a vital life-line to those shielding or unable to get out and shop.

Nomination forms are available from both Smiths Farm Shops and must be completed and handed in to staff by Monday, April 5. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 12, when all non-essential shops are permitted to open once again.

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