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Newark, Nottinghamshire
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#LoveOurColleges: Lockdown Heroes Awards

October 23 2020

We are marking College Week 2020 by taking a closer look at the way in which we add social and economic value in our communities Lincoln, Newark and Gainsborough colleges have always worked to support learners, industry and the wider community and continue to do so throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Gary Headland

    Gary Headland

  • Aly Gratrick

    Aly Gratrick

  • Sian Mathews

    Sian Mathews

  • Joshua Martin

    Joshua Martin

  • Martha Tannock

    Martha Tannock

  • Sarah Usher

    Sarah Usher

  • Debbie McCartney

    Debbie McCartney

  • Andrew Marchant

    Andrew Marchant

During Covid-19 lockdown measures Lincoln College Group continued to be open for business, with its key worker lecturers, tutors and assessors carrying out remote teaching five days a week and face-to-face practical assessments in college with students.

This short video, featuring Gary Headland, CEO Lincoln College Group, looks at how the colleges continue to deliver training and education throughout the Covid crisis.


During this period the College teamed up with The Lincolnite and the Chamber of Commerce, to launch Lockdown Heroes, which celebrated those people who went above and beyond to help in their communities.

The Lockdown Heroes Awards 2020 received over 370 nominations, which were narrowed down to eight winners and on Thursday, these guests were invited to a special awards’ ceremony held at Lincoln College where they were recognised for their extraordinary work and treated to a three-course meal at the College’s Sessions Restaurant.

Lincoln College Group CEO Gary Headland said: “This was an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful examples of human compassion, resolve and bravery that we saw in Lincolnshire throughout the lockdown period.

“Reading the hundreds of nominations was a truly humbling experience and every single individual deserves recognition. Our winners really stood out as extraordinary and we were delighted to be able to invite them onto our campus for a small socially distanced celebration today.

“We sincerely hope we will not face another lockdown situation in the near future, but if we do, we have learned that we live in a place where people will support and care for each other when the need arises, allowing us to pull through stronger than ever.

“Another fabulous example of Greater Lincolnshire being a terrific place to live, study, work and visit.”


The winners were:

Aly Gratrick

Aly is a funeral director for Lincolnshire Co-op and was nominated by a colleague. She worked passionately and tirelessly for the families who lost loved ones throughout lockdown, even going as far as calling people after funerals to make sure they are okay.

Sian Mathews

Sian is a community psychiatric nurse working for Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust in Grantham and Sleaford, she was nominated by her boyfriend. She was so dedicated to her job that at the start of lockdown she sent her three children to stay with their dad for six weeks and keep them safe from COVID-19.

Joshua Martin

Six-year-old Joshua Martin spent lockdown raising thousands of pounds for good causes, not letting his youth get in the way.

He rode 100 miles on his bike during May, raising £1,245 for the NHS Masks for Heroes charity.

His parents said: “We are so proud of his resilience, determination and kindness and think he is a great ambassador for other young children to follow.”

Martha and Ayda Tannock

Nominated by their mum, Martha and Ayda Tannock helped the cause by making pamper bags for care homes.

They decorated the bags and wrote personalised letters before delivering them via a district nurse to the care home.

Martha didn’t stop there, and went on to raise £500 and collected donations for over 50 of the pamper bags to be sent to local care homes.

Sarah Usher

Sarah Usher is the manager at the Lincoln Jobcentre and was nominated by her child.

During April, Lincoln took 8,449 new claims to welfare benefit on Universal Credit alone, and Sarah led the team to ensure 96.8% of the claims were paid on time and in full.

Her nomination said: “As a DWP manager I don’t think mum ever gets the same level of recognition as the most obvious key workers but I really feel this amazing effort by her deserves recognition from all the 12.5k Universal Credit and legacy customers supported by her and her team especially at such a challenging time. She’s an absolute hero.”

Debbie McCartney

Debbie and her partner are classed as key workers, and their sacrifice during the coronavirus pandemic was the ultimate one.

Both chose to safeguard their children and live apart, moving their children to Debbie’s in-laws in Mansfield, only communicating via FaceTime.

Her work ethic as a care co-ordinator at St Katherine’s Care in Lincoln was recognised by everyone on her team, resulting in this honour.

Andrew Marchant

Andrew's work in the Branston area was recognised by many, as he achieved so much with his team of volunteers during lockdown.

Some of his work included delivering 15 boxes to the local food bank, collecting 155 prescriptions and doing 74 shopping trips, as well as regularly helping 95 vulnerable Branston residents.

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