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‘Free curry for a year’ – Northampton restaurant hails community heroes

Written by on April 23, 2020

A student paramedic who hasn’t been able to see her children since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and a supermarket worker who has delivered food parcels to the vulnerable have been rewarded for their hard work by winning free curry for a year from a town centre restaurant.

Lauren Bray and Kaylee Dawes have been named the winners of Saffron’s ‘Hunt for a Hero’ competition – a search for key workers who have gone above and beyond to help the community cope with the impact of coronavirus.

The pair were presented with a certificate and a letter entitling them to one free takeaway a month for the next year by Naz Islam, managing director of the award-winning Bangladeshi and Nepalese restaurant in Castilian Street, Northampton.

Mr Islam said: “We wanted to celebrate all those who are putting their lives on the line to keep us safe during this outbreak.

“The dedication and commitment of these key workers has been incredible. We asked our customers to help us in our Hunt for a Hero and they didn’t let us down, we had dozens of nominations, with many worthy winners but Lauren and Kaylee really stood out.

“We’re looking forward to cooking for them and their friends and family throughout the next 12 months. It’s our little way of saying thank you for all they’ve done.

Lauren is a second-year student paramedic. When university placements were stopped she approached the East of England Ambulance Service to volunteer her services and take on extra responsibilities. This involved going on a week’s transition course in Chelmsford and when she came back the country went into lockdown.

Due to health conditions within the family she is now unable to live with them, and only sees her children once a day through the window of her parents’ home.

She said: “It’s been incredibly difficult. All I want to do is hold my children, but I can’t. So instead, we made the best of a bad situation. I sit at the end of Nan’s drive, they pull up a chair and sit and eat their dinner while we chat about our day.

“People walk by looking on as if we we’re mad, but this is our new normal for now, our new family dinner. I will go sit at the end of that drive as often as shifts allow until we get through this, holding onto the fact that every day that passes, we are one step closer to the day I can safely hold them again.

“I’m delighted to have won the competition and it’s lovely of Saffron to recognise the sacrifices that healthcare professionals are making. It’s been tough but gestures like this make it worthwhile.”

Kaylee works at Morrison’s in Victoria Promenade and has seen her workload go from 20 hours a week to 60 at the peak of the pandemic. The mum-of-one is the store’s ‘Community Champion’ and has been delivering food parcels to some of the most vulnerable members of the community. She also delivered Easter eggs to children who had drawn pictures of rainbows and displayed them in their bedroom windows.

Kaylee received four separate nominations and was described as “selfless” and “an inspiration”.

She said: “I can’t believe I won, I’m over the moon. I love a good curry so this is the perfect prize for me.”

Saffron is currently open for deliveries and collections only. It is offering half price meals to all NHS and emergency services staff. Orders must be placed over the phone and are for collection only.

Free, contactless delivery is available on all full-price orders within five miles of the restaurant.

During the pandemic, Saffron has delivered free meals to Northampton General Hospital staff and donated produce to the Hope Centre and Northampton Night Shelter, both of whom are running short on supplies.

For more information, please call the restaurant on 01604 630800. 

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