Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


Barry Resident Recognised as ‘Lockdown Hero’ in Openreach’s Community Connectors Awards



A Barry resident has been presented with a Community Connectors Award by digital network provider Openreach in recognition for their support for vulnerable neighbours during lockdown.

Nigel Hughes of Barry, who has Multiple Sclerosis, received the award after his feat of embarking on a daily ‘walk a mile’ challenge over three months, raising £10,000 for local charities including Woody’s Lodge, St David’s Hospice and Ty Halfan children’s hospice.

Openreach launched the Community Connectors Awards in 2020 to recognise individuals and groups for their work supporting local residents and vulnerable neighbours during lockdown. More than 130 nominations from MPs across the UK were judged by the panel including Openreach engineers and former Culture Secretary Baroness Nicky Morgan of Cotes.

Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, said:

“We were inspired to launch the Community Connectors Awards by the efforts of our engineering team. The stories received from across the country have been inspiring and show how many people are working to make a difference and support their neighbours during lockdown.”

“Nigel hasn’t sought recognition but is a wonderful example to his community. I’m delighted and very grateful to be able to thank him for everything he continues to do to support the vulnerable in our society.”

Nigel Hughes said:

“Woody’s Lodge is an amazing charity that helps veterans and emergency services personnel, like myself, and has been a huge support to me over the last few years. Walking one mile took me 99 days, which I did last summer, as my mobility is very limited. But raising money for Woody’s gave me a reason to try.”

Alun Cairns MP, who nominated Nigel for the award, said:

“I’m so pleased that Nigel Hughes, a retired police office with multiple sclerosis, challenged himself to walk a mile for Woody’s Lodge throughout lockdown. A huge thank you to Openreach for rightly recognising Nigel for his efforts.”

As key workers, Openreach engineers have connected numerous field hospitals up and down the UK within days, also performing vital maintenance to keep families and businesses online and in contact during lockdown. Members of the engineering team have also camped out in remote parts of the UK to ensure local connectivity and volunteered in their spare time – performing roles including as delivery drivers for NHS blood supplies.