Meet the Covid heroes around Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth who have been named on this year's Queen's Birthday Honours List

This year the honours focus on those people who have gone that extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 2:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 2:25 pm

Several people from in and around Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth have been named on the Queen's Birthday Honours List for they work they have done to help and support others during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Molly Bufton Stear, of Kenilworth, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Molly, 23, who is now living in Madrid while she waits to start a new job as an English teaching assistant there, set up Molly's Meals at the start of lockdown in 2020.

From L-R (clockwise) Professor Tim Lockley, Ellie Orton, Rachel Booth and Molly, Bufton Steer.
From L-R (clockwise) Professor Tim Lockley, Ellie Orton, Rachel Booth and Molly, Bufton Steer.

She started by cooking and delivering meals with her boyfriend Conner Marchant as her driver for five older or vulnerable people - and this number increased to about 30 at one point at the height of the pandemic.

The service is still running with volunteers serving around 20 people per day and Molly thinks since it started it has now provided those in need with about 10,000 meals.

She said she has always had a soft spot for the older generation after having spent much time with her grandparents over the years.

Her grandfather Meryvn died in 2019 and she said he would have been the family member who was the most proud of her achievement.

Molly Bufton Stear

Molly said: "It all feels a bit surreal at the moment.

"I feel very proud and my family are too.

"One of the main perks of being awarded the BEM is that you are able to have your wedding at St Paul's Cathedral's chapel so there's a bit of excitement about that."

Molly will receive her medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Tim Cox and attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace when lockdown restrictions are no longer in place.

Ellie Orton.

In September last year Molly received a Points of Light award from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for her service to people in Kenilworth.Warwick-based chief executive of NHS Charities Together, Elaine 'Ellie' Orton, has been awarded an OBE for services to the NHS during Covid-19.

The charity has been at the vanguard of supporting NHS staff, volunteers and patients during the pandemic, raising more than £150 million thanks to the efforts of fundraisers like Captain Sir Tom Moore, Joe Wicks, Premier League footballers and thousands of people across the UK.

Speaking about the award, Ellie said: “I am so proud to receive this award because it is public recognition of the tireless efforts of our small, dedicated staff team, trustees and partners of NHS charities Together who worked so tirelessly to get the funds raised straight to the frontline of the NHS within days of launching our appeal.

"This really has been a case of team work on a national scale.

Professor Tim Lockley.

“For me, this award is also for the public because it was their astonishing response to our appeal, their desire to be there for the NHS, which helped us raise such a huge amount of money. Thank you to those who ran, walked, swam, cycled and took on every other challenge you can think of to raise money for our cause, and to all those who put their hand on their pocket to support us.”

Under Ellie’s leadership, the charity raised £100 million in the first six weeks of its Covid-19 appeal.

It created a UK-wide grants programme from scratch, distributing £20 million in urgent funding within weeks and £30 milllion within six months.

So far it has made £125 million available to NHS charities in every part of the UK, funding a range of projects supporting staff, patients and volunteers.

These have included bereavement support for patients, counselling and wellbeing support for staff, research into Long Covid, projects to keeping isolated patients connected with loved ones, specialist equipment, and funding for thousands of emergency response volunteers.

The evidence shows these projects are already making a huge difference for frontline staff, with over three in ten NHS staff surveyed saying they most value the counselling support and support with practical needs, like food and drink, that have been provided by NHS charities.

Rachel Booth. Photo by

Responding to the news, Ian Lush OBE, chair of NHS Charities Together, said: “Ellie thoroughly deserves this award. She has led the charity through the most extraordinary year as it has gone from a tiny organisation with a team of 4 and an income of £400,000 to one that has raised over £150m and got vital support out to the NHS in every part of the UK.

“Ellie seems to have limitless energy and has worked so hard with her team to channel the funds we have raised out to where they can make the biggest difference supporting NHS staff, volunteers and patients.

"She is just a passionate champion for the NHS and the people who make it tick.”

The charity is urging the public to take part in the NHS Big Tea fundraising event, taking place on the NHS’s birthday on July 5.

For more information about the event visit Tim Lockley, of Warwick University's History Department, has been made an MBE for his services to the community in Harbury.

His full citation mentions his service as a parish councillor for 18 yearrs (being chair for 14) helping to establish the Harbury Heritage Centre, saving Harbury Library from closure and organising the Harbury volunteer network during Covid that supported the elderly and vulnerable in the parish during lockdown.

Professor Lockley said: “I was humbled and delighted to have been nominated for an MBE.

"None of the things I have been involved with over the years, Harbury Parish Council, Harbury Heritage Centre, Harbury Village Library, and the Covid volunteer network, could have happened without the advice and support of lots of other people in the village who helped to put ideas into action.

"I am very happy to be a part of such a great community."

Rachel Booth from Hatton will receive a British Empire Medal for her services to the community in Warwickshire during the pandemic.

Rachel set up the Warwickshire Scrubbers community initiative last year to help kit out NHS workers on the front line.Abigail De Graaff, of Shopston-on-Stour, will also receive a BEM for services to the Warwickshire Scrubbers and the provision of PPE during Covid-19

Lighthorne resident Timothy Andrews, the co-founder of the charity LoveBrum, was made an MBE For services to charity and the community in


Wendy Tomes, of Warwick and the former CEO of the Sidney Stringer Multi Academy Trust in Coventry, who retired from the post last summer was made an OBE for services to education.

Robert Sherman, the co-founder of Harbury E-Wheels will receive a BEM for services to the community in Harbury particularly during Covid-19.

He said: "It was a total surprise to learn of this honour and wonderful to be acknowledged in this way.

The medal may be awarded to me but Harbury e-Wheels would be nothing without the 25 wonderful volunteers who make it work.

"I hope that they feel it is theirs too."

Wendy Tomes
Bob Sherman