'Covid Santa' Deborah from Asda Workington keeps up spirits with lockdown presents

August 24, 2020

Our wonderful colleague Deborah Hewetson has been compared to Santa after dropping off small gifts to keep up the spirits of people who were shielding during the lockdown.

Deborah, who works at our Workington store, wanted to help after getting a glimpse of what self-isolating was like when she was stuck in Spain at the start of the lockdown and then when she saw friends and family who work in care homes struggling to get the supplies they needed after finishing work at the beginning of the crisis in March.

So to keep up people's sprits Deborah has organised Zoom quizzes and bingo games for friends, done shopping for friends and delivered small gifts, including afternoon tea, to friends.

Deborah, who's 55 and works in the cash office, said: "I have a couple of friends who work in care homes and when they were finishing work they would go shopping and couldn't get what they need so I would get the things for them and leave it at their homes for them.

"I was working while a few of my friends were furloughed so we set up a lockdown WhatsApp group and we did Zoom quizzes, bingo and random things. I'd buy Easter Eggs and things as little prizes just to keep everyone's spirits up.

"Then one weekend I thought 'I'm going to make afternoon tea for them. I made it for eight of my close friends and five family members who were shielding."

Deborah's lifelong friend Sally Spencer was so impressed by her kindness that she contacted the Times and Star newspaper to tell them about her.

A modest Deborah, who has two sons and two grandchildren, said: "It was just a little something with the times we were going through, as nobody knew what was happening and they couldn't just get up and go where they wanted.

"I'd just leave it on the doorstep so there was no contact. They would open the door and see things on the step. They knew it was from me, but I hope it helped made a difficult time a little easier."

Deborah and her husband John were in Benidorm when Spain went into lockdown, and they were confined to the hotel until they could get a flight home.

She said: "We were on the fourth day of the holiday and we knew that was that and how serious it was. It affects you when you get home because you know how serious it is.

"We're all in it together and the only way we will beat it is if we stick together."

Store manager Aaron Rigg said: "The commitment and effort all of my colleagues have put in during these difficult times is truly humbling and I am proud of them all. It is nice for one of them to be recognised so publicly."

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