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FOR Cardiff recognise ten of Cardiff’s most inspirational community heroes for their dedication to helping others during the pandemic.
Today, FOR Cardiff unveil ten portraits of selfless individuals who have gone above and beyond to give back to their communities in various ways during lockdown, to celebrate unwavering community spirit.
Amongst the suffering and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic, people across the city have continued to show courage and resilience in helping those in need.
After a call out for people to nominate their Cardiff COVDID-19 hero, over 100 entries were submitted in a week, and ten were carefully chosen by FOR Cardiff’s judging panel.
The ten nominees will receive their very own portrait, painted by internationally recognised Nathan Wyburn, which will be displayed in store windows in St Davids, the Capitol Centre, the Morgan Quarter, the Castle Quarter and Queens Street.
Nathan is known for painting with unusual materials. For this project he has used coffee, chocolate, soy sauce, ketchup and lipstick. Nathan previously gifted Mariah Carey with coffee art, painted Sam Warburton with soy sauce and drawn KFC’s Colonel Saunders using ketchup. Nathan wished to help publicise the ten heroes using the same ingredients as famous celebrities.
From busking in their front garden to coming out of retirement to help with COVID-19 testing, here are the stories of heroism during the crisis.
Maisie-Lee Bryant, who is nine years old, busked outside of her Nan’s house and raised £100 that she then donated to the NHS. She has also been sending videos to people in care homes to cheer them up during this difficult time. Maisie said, “I am over the moon for being one of the ten. I just wanted to busk to raise money for the real superheroes.”
Hayley Pearce set up a temporary foodbank in Fairwater to feed those in financial difficulty. Hayley said, “I started the Feeding Fairwater initiative to help a few families through a tough time, never did I expect there to be such a huge need within my own community. I could not have fed so many people over these past months if it wasn’t for the amazing team of volunteers that have given up their own time to help. It feels great to know that we have all spread a bit of kindness during what has been a very uncertain time.”
Kasim Ali brought together 25 local restaurants to create #FeedTheHeath where small kitchens could safely prepare healthy meals to distribute to NHS staff. The initiative made 68,000 meals, and the fundraising resulted in 1,400 individual donors and £75,595 total donations. Kasim said, “Feed The Heath was set up to make a small difference to the NHS workers who care for us, our families, friends and our colleagues. We rely so heavily on the staff at the University Hospital of Wales, it was great for our sector of the community to be able to do something small to help.”
Kelly Reardon-Brown came out of NHS “retirement” in order to help out with COVID-19 testing, alongside her role at the Clayton Hotel, working 60 hours a week, and supporting family members who were unwell. Kelly said, “I was already going to be working full time at the Clayton Hotel housing keyworkers, and my parents are both very poorly, and I was needed to look after them too, but despite all this, it wasn’t really a decision for me it was something I had to do. It was a call of duty, and although I had not been a Biomedical Scientist for 20 years I wanted to help. I had been privileged with an amazing education and didn’t hesitate on going back to the UHW to help where I could. I put my affairs in order, and just did it.”
Adrian Field, FOR Cardiff’s Executive Director said: “These unsung, hardworking heroes are keeping Cardiff’s NHS staff fed, improving community’s wellbeing, studying while working on the frontline, keeping people in isolation fed and keeping us safe.
“These ten people, and the hundred plus that were nominated, have been so generous with their time and have really rallied to support their local communities through the delivery of a wide range of services.
“We are delighted to see their faces around Cardiff as an opportunity to extend our thanks to our local heroes.”
FOR Cardiff are partnering with Museum of Cardiff to ensure that the stories shared help record how the people of Cardiff reacted to and were impacted by COVID-19. The submissions will be available for use and research by the museum and public for generations to come.