Rossendale Free Press

A royal honour for food ‘lifeline’ Ricky

- FLORA BYATT @florabyatt­MEN

APROUD dad has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours for his ‘lifeline’ contributi­on during the pandemic.

Ricky Sercombe MBE, of Hallfold Road, Whitworth, works for Brakes wholefood supplier, who were instrument­al in preparing food boxes to those self-isolating when the pandemic broke out in March.

Ricky, a Data Technologi­st, helped plan deliveries to the 450,000 vulnerable people who needed food supplies, which due to the reporting difference­s between NHS institutio­ns, identifyin­g the individual­s, and tracking down people with incorrect addresses, was an extremely difficult task.

Hundreds of thousands of lines of report data came from central Government each day, which Ricky, through resilience and dedication, was able to manually create a workable delivery schedule, going way above his contracted hours.

Ricky was personally responsibl­e for the successful delivery of hundreds of thousands of parcels a week. The boxes have been described by recipients as a lifeline.

Ricky, 47, said: “There were about 24 items of food per box for a week, referred by GPs, government websites, or various other ways. We set up a link to get the data sent to us.

“There were 30,000 boxes to deliver in the first week which increased to 450,000 per week. It was rather challengin­g because people had registered on the website and not put their full address in - it was a real challenge and a lot of work to find out where people were.”

He continued: “We were desperate to get this data right. It was absolutely amazing and I was flabbergas­ted when I made the New Year’s Honours. I was overwhelme­d and in shock.

“What I did wasn’t my normal job - I do work in IT for Brakes.

“I am just one part of what was achieved - I am proud but I am also very proud of my colleges - there’s so many I could mention.”

RIcky was also helped by son, Jake, nine, who would help him to look up addresses that weren’t totally filled in.

Working alongside was second wholesale company, Bidfood - both Brakes and Bidfood distributi­on centres worked to supply the country with food boxes during lockdown.

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 ??  ?? • Ricky Sercombe and son Jake
• Ricky Sercombe and son Jake

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