Leisure centre manager hailed Havering’s hero

A Havering leisure centre manager has received the borough’s Hero of the Year award for his contribution to the community in 2020/2021.

The accolade, hosted by the BBC, asked London councils to nominate a lockdown hero in their borough – someone who has made a significant difference to their community in this difficult time.

Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher, area contract manager for Everyone Active leisure centres in Havering, worked with the local authority to set up a support hub at Hornchurch Sports Centre in March last year to meet the needs of the local community during the pandemic.

With support from the council and furloughed colleagues, Tom created a socially distanced and COVID-secure picking warehouse that operated seven days a week in order to provide food and PPE packages to Havering residents in need.

The team at Hornchurch Sports Centre facilitated the delivery of more than 3,000 food packages and over 500 PPE deliveries to shielding residents, local foodbanks, care homes and key workers.

Tom said: “I feel so humbled to have won this award. Although it was a particularly challenging period, it was an honour to be able to support the local community and make a difference.

“I am so proud of the teams at both Hornchurch Sports Centre and Havering Council who worked so well together to set up and operate the support hub. It was fantastic to be able to utilise the centre during its closure and help the local community through such a difficult time for everyone.”

Tom is now shortlisted for the BBC London’s hero awards.

This recognition follows yet another great achievement for Tom who was also awarded Havering Council’s Chief Executive’s Contribution to Community award last week.

Councillor Damien White, leader of Havering Council, said: “Tom has made such an incredible difference to the lives of our most vulnerable residents during the pandemic.

“He represents the best of us and has true Havering spirit.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]