Nine Andover residents are among those across Test Valley who have received ‘unsung hero awards’ for their work in the pandemic.

The nine good Samaritans have done everything from keeping their communities entertained to providing tech support and equipment for those in need. They have now been recognised for their achievements after a panel shortlisted nominations from across the area.

Dmitrijs Meiksans MYP, one of the organisers of the awards, said: “This program has simply been so rewarding to see. Calling the recipients every week to notify them of their nomination and then shortlisted nomination, is so lovely and has been the best part of this whole experience.”

Josh Douch was the first recipient from Andover, announced back in March. One nomination read: “Josh has given his time, evenings and weekends, to refurbish and repair laptops for children that can’t access home learning. He has done this throughout the whole year. In one weekend he repaired 50 laptops! For a young man of 20, I think this is a remarkable achievement. We are very proud of him.”

At the start of April, two more followed as Irene Williams and Lisa Barnecut were given the award.

A nomination for Irene said: “Irene is a beautiful gentle soul that has been keeping us entertained every Monday doing a live gig every Monday on Facebook. She also plays around the care homes and entertains the residents. She has done this every week since March and gives us all a good laugh, brightens our days and gives us something to look forward to in these strange times.”

Meanwhile, Lisa was nominated by one of her daughters, who said: “At the start of the pandemic, my sister very nearly lost her life because of Covid. Our mum was by her side the whole time making sure she was comfortable and taking care of her every need since she couldn’t move or breathe by herself. She was putting herself at risk to make sure my sister was going to make it through, and because of my mum my sister did!

“Not only this, but my mum is a carer on Kingfisher Ward at Andover Hospital and has been battling covid day in day out. Even when she has been emotionally and physically drained she kept fighting alongside the amazing NHS staff.”

The following week, Ryan Rawlinson received the award after organising the donations of tablets to local schools, raising over £7000 in the process. He was followed by Ann-Marie Bentham, a carer for Isaac Blake, a little boy with a rare syndrome who requires round the clock care.

She was nominated by Maxine Rochester, Isaac’s guardian, who said: “She doesn’t just help me, anyone that needs it she is there. At the beginning of this, someone in a supermarket was crying as they couldn’t get paracetamol for their husband due to shortages. She handed them the ones she had in her bag. She is completely selfless and without her I really wouldn’t have managed during this lockdown. I have been out six times in over a year due to my little boy she keeps me sane and safe.”

It was then the turn of Leslie and Tim Barry, Enham Alamein sub-postmasters, who jointly received the award. Their nomination read:

“Leslie and Tim did so much to support the community from home deliveries to crazy Facebook videos to lift everyone’s spirits. They work so hard - they really supported me and my little business as I sold online and had a million parcels to post - they never complained. They have so much stock that I didn’t need to go to the supermarket. They just really, really care about everyone in the community and work so, so hard.”

Last but not least, this week it was the turn of Andy Lavery and Sally Baker.

Andy’s nomination read: “During the Covid situation, not only did Andy keep Test Valley residents fit by adapting his Dawn Breakers business to operate online with amazing support, but he also arranged to fundraise to provide families struggling over Christmas to be given vouchers to buy food and presents for their young.”

Meanwhile, Sally’s said: “Sally is a hard working, willing and relentless volunteer at the Covid-19 vaccination centre at The Lights in Andover, working as a supervisor and manager. She has been full of new ideas to help make things work in a slick way. [She] works hard on team dynamics and keeping other volunteers happy.”