Hero Awards

Time & Leisure Community Hero Awards: The Winners!

Time & Leisure

Community Hero Awards

Recognising the incredible work of local people during the Coronavirus outbreak, we asked our readers to nominate someone in south west London or Surrey who deserves to win one of Time & Leisure’s Hero Awards prizes…

During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen the most amazing acts of kindness, bravery and compassion. From our NHS workers on the frontline and those providing essential services to keep us going, to the everyday heroes volunteering in our communities. We asked you to nominate those people who made such a difference during such trying times. We’re delighted to announce


Syebvonne Nguyen. Syebvonne received many nominations from our readers who praised her tireless efforts to make masks for the NHS as well as her community spirit and willingness to help others. Read her story.

Nichola Green. The Rose & Crown’s Nichola Green has done an outstanding job in providing thousands of meals for NHS Workers. Find out more about her inspiring story.

Lisa Ross, of the OSO in Barnes, set up the crisis kitchen to provide meals for those in need. Find out more.

Xavier Wiggins stepped up as soon as the crisis hit, co-founding DONS Local Action Group. Read his story. 

Natalya Fox: frontline doctor Natalya Fox was nominated for her work on the COVID team at Kingston Hospital.

Katy Kenyon co-founded Sewing4Kingston, mobilising 1,500 volunteers and making 40,000 items of PPE to date.

Paul Pickhaver has spearhead Kingston FoodBank’s vital role in providing essential supplies to those in need.


We were inundated with nominations and heard so many wonderful stories. And what is clear is that we live in the most giving and caring communities.

Among those nominees who deserve a special mention are:

Prabha Shetty for her dedication to the Milaap Centre in Kingston.

BRaG – a North Kingston neighbourhood group who quickly mobilised street groups, kept up the community spirit and raised a huge amount for charities.

Ashley Bates – teacher Ashley set up a virtual school in his shed so children could keep up with their studies.

Merton Mutual Aid Group – offering vital help to the community.

Binder Gill – baking thousands of delicious samosas to raise money for the NHS.

Read more about why we set up this search. And many thanks to our sponsors who kindly donated prizes, and our awards ambassadors Adrian Mills and Angellica Bell.

Words from our winners!

Syebvonne: ” I am very honoured to win, it has been quite a journey, it has now evolved to a campaign that provides free reusable cotton mask for children under free school lunch scheme too, the project hasn’t ceased its activities at all, and the forest of the community mask trees had grown bigger and reaching wider communities all around, Popping up across multiple boroughs at present,  blooming hundreds of masks each day to serve the people. Oh,  what can I say, and how can I put it in words, but really delighted it’s catching on and people are showing their best community spirit!”

Nichola: “I am very used to being a busy lady running the pub and hotel for many years! and the thought of not having anything to do scared me. I  also felt  guilty to being paid furlough from the government and not giving something back to the community

So I  looked around for some charity work to do, and got to hear about this amazing charity that needed a commercial premise to cook for the NHS staff, so I spoke to Young’s head office to  ask if they wouldn’t mind me using our kitchen here at the Rose and Crown and they were fully supportive and rest of the story  is 6000 meals later.  I was delighted to be able to help and my sacrifice was nothing compared to the people at the NHS.”

Natalya: “I was redeployed from my usual job as a dermatology doctor to acute medicine on the COVID rota during the height of the pandemic, and found myself working with a new team & in a new role. The sense of camaraderie, friendship & team spirit was incredible & lifted us all through the toughest times. The biggest challenge was the impact of seeing patients separated from their families & acting as a go-between either over phone or video calling to allow loved ones to see & speak to each other. Whilst this was emotionally challenging, it was also an honour to facilitate & be present at some of the most intimate moments in a family’s life. I found the experience overall incredibly rewarding due to the sense of purpose it gave me & gratitude shown by my patients & the general public.”

Katy: “What an honour and how humbling. Sewing4Kingston was a huge collaborative effort by a lot of wonderful people in the borough. Sewing4Kingston was founded on 7th April by Amanda Argall (who co-ordinated from South Africa) and myself in response to a plea for scrub wash bags by Kingston Hospital on our local WhatsApp group. This then erupted into a huge, immediate need for scrubs, ear savers, face coverings and operating theatre gowns amongst others things. As a doctor unable to work, I was keen to try to help support our key workers in any way I could. 1,500 amazing volunteers responded in a phenomenal way enabling us to deliver over 40,000 items to date. Initially all the finished stock came to my house to be packed and sorted and sent out to the various key worker settings. After 8 weeks everything other than scrubs, tabards and gowns moved to a warehouse (space kindly donated from The Circulatory) where it was packed and sent out by teams of volunteers. A large number of our volunteers have health struggles or felt unfulfilled or lonely during lockdown and this cause gave them a purpose and a sense of achievement and contribution which in turn helped them feel valued and hopefully proud. Many of them are now sewing bandanas and Hickman line bags and knitting clothing for premature babies.

This has been an incredible marathon for a group of people who just wanted to do what they could to help our local front line workers. I feel so privileged to have been part of this and to have met so many truly inspirational people in our local community to whom I will always be so grateful; their support has been overwhelming.”