OXFORDSHIRE’S coronavirus heroes have been rewarded for their pandemic efforts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Among those picked out for praise include a man who helped feed thousands of NHS staff as they worked on the frontline and the scientist heading up efforts to understand how widely Covid-19 is spreading in the community.

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All have been made Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), with the list, which usually comes out in June, delayed so it could include those who made an outstanding contribution to the UK's response during the initial months of the coronavirus outbreak.

They include Oliver Coles from Chipping Norton, who was singled out as the founder of Hospitality for Heroes and recognised for ‘services to hospitality and the NHS during Covid-19’.

Oxford Mail:

Oliver Coles

His efforts to feed the frontline at the height of the pandemic saw £150,00 raised and more than 80,000 meals delivered over three months.

Speaking in a video to supporters on the last day of the campaign in July, he said the idea had started as a grassroots initiative on Instagram to provide free, healthy meals using quality produce purchased from local suppliers. He added it had been ‘truly astonishing’ to see people come together to help.

Oxford University’s Professor Sarah Walker was also honoured for services to academia and the Covid-19 response.

Oxford Mail:

Professor Sarah Walker

She is the chief investigator and academic lead for the National Covid-19 Infection Survey, a collaboration between Oxford University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), investigating prevalence and incidence of current and past infections of the virus in the UK.

Professor Andrew Harrison, chief executive of the Diamond Light Source, meanwhile, was recognised for services to science during the Covid-19 response.

Oxford Mail:

Professor Andrew Harrison

He said the honour had taken him 'completely by surprise', saying: “While I am obviously delighted on a personal level to receive this award – I consider it to be a tribute to our amazingly dedicated team of 700+ people supporting around 14,000 academic and industrial researchers who are tackling some of the most challenging questions of our time including Covid-19 research, helping to design new batteries and solve the plastic recycling problem with identification of a highly efficient plastic degrading enzyme.”

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He added: “Many of researchers have worked 24/7, during and since lockdown, investigating ways to identify new therapies for Covid-19 with several breakthrough papers including one this week which has identified potential ways forward to rapidly design improved and more potent compounds in the fight against the virus.”

Francesca Perrin, founder of the Indigo Trust was also picked out for charitable service particularly during Covid-19. From Watlington, she established the charity, which awards grants, in 1999 and now runs it with her husband, William, who is also honoured in the list.