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I’m delighted that this spirit has been recognised by HRH The Queen and four of our incredible colleagues have been awarded the British Empire Medal. They are:

Becki Gorman, Cheetham Hill Store Manager, for voluntary services during Covid-19.

Not long after being appointed as a Store Manager in 2018 Becki found out she had suffered a brain tumour and had to take nine months off work for surgery. After battling to recover, Becki wanted to give back and support the fight against Covid-19, so she signed up to be a NHS volunteer responder. Alongside her busy day job she carries out prescription drop-offs and check-in calls with vulnerable people who are self-isolating and offers vital help and support to those in need. After she has finished work she puts herself on duty via an app on her phone and she also volunteers on her days off too. This is even more helpful as she’s a mum and a grandma as well as a fantastic store manager.
 

Gemma Normansell, Facilities Manager at Donington, for services to colleagues during Covid-19.

Gemma has worked tirelessly to make all the changes necessary to protect colleagues at the one million square foot site; from creating more seating areas that adhere to social distancing to working with outside suppliers to ensure that everywhere has supplies of hand sanitiser and cleaning products. On top of all that Gemma has also helped deliver boxes of mixed clothing to a local charity to help children in need and helped organise a Rainbow cake sale on site to raise money for charity.

Aziz Rahman, Deputy Manager/Team Manager, Hackney, for services to the community in London during Covid-19.

Aziz has been a phenomenal colleague over the past year. In his own time and at his own expense he took telephone orders and shopping to those customers who could not leave their homes and, for customers who have been in to shop but have been nervous, he has completed their shopping whilst they waited, and returned customers to their homes when taxi services were stretched. Aziz is also an active member of his mosque community and took part in a charity drive delivering 180 food parcels to the poor and needy in Bangladesh as well as preparing home cooked meals to those attached to the Barking Road Mosque. He’s also been a fantastic support to his colleagues. When one of the team who lives alone and was isolating had her 73rd birthday, Aziz organised gifts and delivered them to her home in Chingford.

Louise Hadley, Section Manager Harborne, for services to customers and the community during Covid-19.

Louise has been a dedicated colleague over the past year. She has been coming into work several hours before her shift starts start to shop for customers who have been unable to leave their homes, and delivered it to their doorsteps before heading back to the store. Despite battling a long term condition, Louise has played a huge role throughout Covid-19 as she wanted to lead her team through the challenge and play her part in feeding the nation.

I am so incredibly proud of Becki, Gemma, Aziz and Louise. But I also know that, for these special stories I am sharing today, there are countless more that I could share. In this crisis, it has brought out the very best of M&S—so many of our colleagues have gone above and beyond day after day to support each other, our customers and communities. I am grateful and humbled by their efforts every day—we said earlier in the year that not all heroes wear capes and that is so true.