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Caithness Foodbank volunteer Pat Ramsay: 'We can achieve so much when we work together'

By John Davidson

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Pat Ramsay with boxes ready to fill for Caithness Foodbank. Picture: David G Scott/HNM
Pat Ramsay with boxes ready to fill for Caithness Foodbank. Picture: David G Scott/HNM

A kind-hearted Caithness woman is among those from across the Highlands to have been hailed as a Community Champion during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pat Ramsay has been helping people who are self-isolating in Wick with shopping and other vital supplies, while also helping to run the Caithness Foodbank which also operates in Thurso.

The former primary school head teacher from Staxigoe said it was good to see the community coming together in these difficult times.

She said: "We have a really tight-knit community here and there is a really good community feeling in this terrible situation we are all going through. It is lovely to have that community feeling when we stop and think about it. We can do so much when we work together."

Pat (59) has been shopping for people in the town as well as getting supplies for her 85-year-old mother. She stressed how she was being careful to drop shopping on the doorstep and maintain the two-metre social distancing rule, while also providing help and some social interaction for those in isolation.

Kevin Crowe and Simon Long, of Loch Street in Wick, said Pat had been helping them with regular shopping trips due to their age and medical conditions.

They added: "Pat is also very busy helping to run the food bank in Caithness, making sure that it can continue to provide food parcels for those in need despite some of the food bank's volunteers being in self-isolation.

"She has been making up food parcels and delivering them to the homes of those in need. Yet no matter how busy she is, she always has a smile on her face. And it is great to have a chat with her, at a distance of course."

Pat said she took her hat off to supermarket workers who had made the shopping experience easier by providing two-metre distancing markers and a one-way system at this difficult time.

In Inverness, staff at the Co-op store in Tomatin Road have also been nominated for stepping up to the mark during the restrictions.

Sheila Mitchell, of Lochiel Gardens, said: "There are a lot of extremely vulnerable, isolated and elderly customers and there are many socio-economic issues in the community such as poverty, addiction and chronic health conditions and for some poor souls this is their only contact at any given time.

"It never fails to amaze me how each customer is treated as an individual and they leave the shop happier and uplifted. The store has had to endure panic buying shortages and a lot of uncertainty but, as is often the case with retail, they tend to be the forgotten heroes."

Sheila also praised the "truly wonderful staff" at Burnfield Medical Practice in Harris Road, Inverness. She said the "amazing group of people who work here are among the hardest working, caring and compassionate people that I have had the pleasure of dealing with".

Meanwhile, Margaret Macleod, of Muir of Ord, said: "I would like to nominate my next-door neighbour, my daughter Amelia and her husband Donald for going for my shopping and generally looking after me.

"Also my son Donnie of DM Catering, Nairn (native of Muir of Ord) – assisted by his wife Anne and his son Martin – for sending me meals and also for cooking and distributing food when ordered around Nairn and nearby."

These are just some of the stories readers have shared with us as people do their bit to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

But 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.

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