A BAKER from Ormskirk has risen to the top to be given the High Sheriff Award for community spirit during the pandemic.
The High Sheriff of Lancashire has ancient origins and is personally appointed by the Queen in her Right as Duke of Lancaster. The office, as Keeper of the Queens Peace, is unpaid and held for one year.
The High Sheriff’s Covid-19 Awards were given to people and organisations from the county of Lancashire that made outstanding contributions to alleviate the challenges of the pandemic either from the voluntary sector, charitable organisations or local public services.
Neil Thompson, the man behind Mr Thompson’s Bakery, was given the award for ‘exceptional voluntary service to the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.’
He has a regular stall at Ormskirk Market, on both Thursdays and Sundays. He also has a stall at Edge Hill University once a week and supplies a few local shops and cafes with cakes.
During lockdown he started putting together small boxes of goodies to leave on the doorstep of people on need. He did this without charging, or expecting any reward.
He then started making up boxes containing all the ingredients needed to bake bread (including flour) and offered these at cost price rather than adding a profit margin.
Then, recognising how much cake was necessary for keeping spirits up, he started doing deliveries. He didn’t add a delivery charge to the order, or put a limit on how far he was prepared to visit. People were able to place orders from long-distance which he would then deliver to local family and friends meaning that people could be in touch with, and connected to, their loved ones even if they couldn’t visit them
When someone on his FaceBook page started collecting money to say thank you to him, he matched it and gave a donation to the MIND charity. MIND is a mental health charity in England and Wales, which offers information and advice to people with mental health problems and lobbies government and local authorities on their behalf. It also works to raise public awareness and understanding of issues relating to mental health.
Photo: Princess Anne receiving Mr Thompson's gingerbread at Edge Hill University in January 2019