He presented the certificate to Lizzie Smith in honour of her late husband, Peter Smith, who co-ordinated the Thakeham & Sullington Covid Support Hub during last year’s lockdowns.
Sadly, Peter died from the complications of Covid-19 on January 6 this year but throughout the prolonged periods of lockdown in 2020, he had co-ordinated the hub, which ensured 148 people who were vulnerable and having to shield were provided with food, medicines and, most importantly, contact.
The volunteers even ensured an assistance dog was fed, without fail, for two months.
Dr Fooks said: “It is a great privilege to be able to use this award to acknowledge all that Peter achieved. He was clearly an exceptional person who cared deeply for his family and for the welfare of others and he will always be remembered as one of the heroes of the pandemic.”
Peter masterminded the initiative from his home in the centre of the village and very quickly attracted 54 other volunteers from the local church and other Thakeham residents.
The Rev Sara-Jane Stevens, priest-in-charge at St Mary’s Church, Thakeham, said: “Peter’s combination of energy, enthusiasm, humour and outstanding organisation made him an ideal lead for this vital work to care for the most vulnerable in the village.
“He was a delightful and compassionate man and he will be greatly missed by everyone.”
Dr Fooks launched his unique award last summer, in partnership with Sussex Newspapers, to recognise individual volunteers who have given exceptional service for others during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.
Awards were presented in October to 110 people from across West Sussex who had been nominated for their selfless work to care for those most severely affected by the crisis.
The Award scheme was then officially closed but, when Dr Fooks was made aware of the exceptional circumstances concerning Peter, he readily agreed to present the award posthumously to Peter’s widow, Lizzie.
Lizzie said: “It has been such a shock for the whole family to lose Peter to Covid. He has been at the centre of our life as a family and we miss him terribly.
“However, it is an honour to receive this recognition for all the work he did for so many people, even though he would say he was just part of the team.”