Kuldeep Singh Dhillon, one of the volunteers from the Sikh community of Warrington, said he was ‘absolutely delighted to win for the whole community’.

They were one of 11 winners in the Warrington Guardian Lockdown Heroes Awards.

Dr Hilary told Kuldeep: “I can’t believe what I am hearing – you supplied at your own expense 35,000 meals, looking after the staff that you knew were working so hard in the hospitals. How did you achieve that?“

Kuldeep said: “Quite a few members of the community volunteered and the donations came from other people as well, not only the Sikh community, but some of the Christian community, the Muslim community and some people from overseas sent money. As soon as they heard what we were doing they were all eager to help.”

The Sikh community were nominated because, according to Pat McLaren, director of communications and engagement at Warrington Hospital, they provided ‘unprecedented support to staff at the hospital’.

Warrington Guardian:

Pat said: “Each weekend they arrived at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara temple in Latchford to prepare, cook and package hot meals and refreshments for staff who were struggling to get away from their wards as they cared for patients.  

“They supported the hospital all through wave one and stepped up again during what became wave two and three, providing an unbelievable 35,000 meals.

“Their efforts are particularly worthy as during the second wave many of their community continued to work and yet gave up their weekends, with a 6am start each day, to support staff.”

Pat said the volunteers also cooked meals for the police, students and those who are homeless.

She said: “The Sikh meals lifted spirits and gave heart to staff who cared for patients in seemingly relentless waves.

“This community has truly stepped up and always put other people first. We cannot thank them enough.”

Kuldeep said: “We realised the National Health Service was under great stress at the first lockdown and anything we could do to raise the morale of the NHS staff we thought would be a good thing.

“The Sikh Community has always been very good at volunteering and helping out.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: WA5 Good Neighbours  COMMENDED: Rainbow After the Storm