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Twenty-one of Coventry’s real-life everyday heroes are being celebrated and recognised for their acts of kindness after a citywide search produced an incredible response.
More than 100 people were nominated by friends, family or neighbours for the #OurCovHeroes campaign, launched in the summer by Coventry City of Culture Trust. The final 21 were then selected by a panel of young people from Coventry Youth Activist Group and the Belgrade Theatre.
The final 21 heroes had their portraits taken by photographer Ayesha Jones, and these portraits are being displayed in city centre shop windows from 3 December, so that the entire city can learn about the inspiring community work the 21 have been doing during the pandemic.
The heroes include a local retailer, Mr Rai, who was delivering goods to customers in Potters Green at the height of the national lockdown. Rather than cashing in on a sudden rush on items such as toilet roll, he was giving it away for free to vulnerable customers.
Ten-year-old Evie Barriscale, meanwhile, made magnets and keyrings to help raise money for the Children’s Air Ambulance, while care worker Lisa Chant went the extra mile to make sure the husband of a care home resident could spend some time with his wife before she passed away.
As well as the portraits of the 21 people selected for #OurCovHeroes, five ‘stand-out heroes’ have had illustrations created of them by artist Ana Jaks. These are also on display in city centre windows.
The Trust has also worked with Coventry BID to recognise every person who was nominated for the #OurCovHeroes campaign, meaning all nominees will have a dedicated bauble, featuring their name, hung on Christmas trees in Coventry city centre.
Commenting, Coventry City of Culture Trust's Chenine Bhathena said: “It has been incredibly moving to read the stories of all of the amazing nominees, and it really does demonstrate the number of incredible everyday heroes in our city.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for all of us - but this project has shown how testing times for our communities really do bring out the best in people.
“We are grateful to everyone who put forward a nominee and hope that #OurCovHeroes provides a bit of festive cheer this winter. I know people in the city will continue to show understanding and care for those in need in their local community. We are inspired by you all.”
People will be able to see the photographs and illustrations at MOD Pizza, 14 Market Way, 30 City Arcade, Cat Ballou and Theatre Absolute. Additional artwork will be visible at Drapers Bar from Thursday 3 December until Tuesday 5 January.
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