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Helping out was just ‘right thing to do’

By John Davidson

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An Elgin man says he is humbled to have been among those nominated in our Community Champions feature.

We have been asking readers to send in details of who is going above and beyond in their communities to help out as people try to deal with coronavirus and the changes restrictions have brought about to our day-to-day lives.

Paul Briggs has been busy over the last four weeks picking up prescriptions and doing shopping for local people who are self-isolating or in need of extra support.

He says he got involved after his friend Barry Jarvis set up a Facebook group, Elgin Covid 19 support and resilience, and “it spiralled from there”.

When told he had been nominated as a Community Champion, Paul said: “I’m a bit shocked really because I didn’t do it to get anything. It was just my honour to help the community really, so I’m a bit humbled to be honest. Thanks, I’m really chuffed.”

Paul Briggs has been helping out the local community around Elgin.
Paul Briggs has been helping out the local community around Elgin.

In between volunteering Paul has been continuing to work on a disabled path at the Elgin Community Garden, ready for when people can get out more.

However, the community will have to do without Paul’s services for a while, as he has been dispatched on other urgent work for a national rescue service.

“I’ve been asked to go to Shetland to do urgent priority works at the air sea rescue hub for the company I work for, AJ Engineering. So we’re going up there to make sure it’s intact and ready for operations.

“You can’t do it in winter and, because there’s a small weather window at this time of year to get it done, the government have classed it as essential priority work.”

Paul has reassured everybody who he has been helping that other volunteers are in place to ensure they will continue to get all they need.

“People are struggling and I just thought it was the right thing to do,” he added. “Over the last four weeks it’s been a pleasure and an honour to help my fellow citizens of Elgin and Moray.”

On a Facebook post in the group, several comments were left to thank Paul for his efforts.

Ewan Chalmers said: “You are an amazing guy. A real credit not just to Elgin but to the community spirit that this crisis is bringing out.”

Moira Sutherland added: “Thank you for keeping the community together.” And Sheila Cochrane said: “Haste ye back – you’ve helped so many people Paul ... thank you!”

Paul’s story is just one example of how the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions brought about by it are bringing out the best in our communities.

In these difficult times, people are showing how much they care for each other in so many ways, from showing support for NHS staff and other key workers to volunteering to help those particularly affected by isolation.

Delivering food parcels, setting up online social groups and picking up medicines and other vital supplies are just some of the things we’ve shared stories of in our newspapers in recent weeks.

Now we want to hear from you about who is making a real difference in your community. Who is going the extra mile to help people cope during the lockdown?

It could be somebody in your street, an individual who has started a village or town initiative or somebody going out to do vital work to keep the country going during the crisis.

To tell us about your Community Champions, send an email to community.champions@hnmedia.co.uk including the name of the person you are nominating; the town, village or street where they live; details of why you think they deserve recognition; a photograph of the person if you have one; plus the person’s contact details if possible.

We will feature more of their stories in the coming weeks.

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