Some of the stories will feature on air in a special programme on Friday 11 September and a judging panel will select two Make A Difference Superstars from each of the nine BBC local radio patches to have a Great Western Railway high speed train named after them.
For the past four months BBC local radio across the country has been highlighting stories of people making a difference in their communities during the pandemic.
It was the BBC Three Counties Radio Make A Difference (MAD) team who first shared the story of Captain Tom Moore. He captured listeners’ hearts when he set out to do 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday to raise money for the NHS. Soon the rest of the world was cheering him on, too, helping him to raise over £33million.
Now the teams are calling on listeners to reward the superstars up their street and in their neighbourhoods. It could be a youngster who has been looking after mum, a budding cook who has been baking for their neighbour, or a key worker who has been a special help to a family.
GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton said:
“The GWR has a long history of naming trains after those who have made a difference in their communities, recognising past and present stars from across our network.
“As key workers ourselves we recognise only too well the sacrifices many have made to keep people safe and we want to reward their efforts. We have been keeping key workers and community heroes moving throughout the pandemic and continue to do so, and it is lovely to be able to recognise just a handful in this way.
“I am honoured that today we are able to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign, to recognise those who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to meet the needs of their communities, and the communities we serve. Listening to BBC local radio we were touched by the stories that we have heard.”
Chris Burns, Head of BBC Audio and Digital says:
“While COVID19 is a global pandemic, it’s impact has been very localised and MAD has highlighted what people have done locally to help each other. We want to recognise the acts of kindness that have been a part of this difficult time. So we are asking people to tell us about their local heroes, those who have lifted your spirits, made them laugh or cry or maybe even literally saved their life?”
The following BBC Radio stations are taking part, two listeners from each station will be selected to have trains named after them:
BBC Radio Bristol
BBC Radio Wiltshire
BBC Hereford and Worcester
BBC Radio Oxford
BBC Radio Berkshire
BBC Radio Somerset
BBC Radio Devon
BBC Radio Cornwall
BBC Radio Gloucester
Tell a story of someone who has made a difference to you, your friends, family or community. To nominate someone who’s ‘made a difference’ visit www.bbc.co.uk/makeadifference for more details about the award, terms and privacy notice. Nomination period closes 30 August 2020 at midnight.
With more people starting to use trains again operators are reminding passengers to:
Plan ahead – travel at quieter times where they can, buy a ticket online and in advance, and book ahead if you need travel assistance
Consider others – wear a face covering unless you’re exempt, not travelling if you have Covid symptoms and consider others, not all disabilities can be seen
Stay safe – maintaining your distance wherever possible; wash your hands and carry hand sanitiser, paying contactless where you can.
Train operators across the country have launched a ‘Let’s travel safely this summer’ pledge which highlights the extra steps taken to make journeys safe from coronavirus, including running more trains and carriages to make room; boosting trains and stations cleaning; help with hygiene by making it easier to keep hands clean and increasing staff and information to help people travel safely.
Notes to editors Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.