CUT ABOVE: Tom Howe and Alex Humphries, from the Covid Cutz group during preparations for the virtual Meet parade     	            TM Pic
CUT ABOVE: Tom Howe and Alex Humphries, from the Covid Cutz group during preparations for the virtual Meet parade TM Pic

A TEAM of volunteers who set up a social media group to bring a little light relief to residents during the pandemic has been named Unsung Heroes of the Year.

Nominations for the award, organised by MP Dehenna Davison to recognise individuals and groups who “have gone above and beyond in 2020”, were whittled down to 12 finalists and for the past three weeks members of the public have been voting for a winner.

They chose Covid Cutz, a group of friends who set up a Facebook page and raised thousands of pounds for the NHS and other good causes.

The group was launched by Alex Humphries, from Staindrop, when he posted a photograph of a haircut at home during the initial lockdown.

He encouraged others to share similar photographs and in less than a week the group had 1,700 members and as well as raising spirits, Alex and his friends – Tom Howe, Grace Howard, Scott Richardson, Katy Richards, Tom and Ben Alexander, Rosie Brown, Jenni Healy and Beverleyann Wilson – raised thousands for the NHS.

Alex and Tom went on to create a virtual Meet parade, with dozens of residents dressing up to be filmed for the online event.

Alex said: “We are truly humbled by the award, as so many great people were nominated. This year has certainly been one we won’t forget in a hurry.

“The community we created during one of the most difficult periods in our lives was something to behold.”

He added: “As a collective we managed to support so many worthwhile causes and made a real difference to people’s lives.

“This award belongs to all of us and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this town.

“To think it all started with a daft haircut.”

Other finalists included Andrew and Janet Coghlan of Barningham, Evenwood caterer Kim Clark, healthcare worker Jan Foster Taylor, Butterknowle-based Kim Batey, musician Paul Brown, volunteer Paula Nelson, youngsters Anastasia Rowell and Jamie Dowson, postman Phil Hetherington, Barnard Castle’s Rachel Tweddle and the Red Alligator pub, at South Church.

Miss Davison said: “A huge congratulations to Covid Cutz, a group to share wacky and wonderful lockdown trims. It grew quickly with the boys using it to raise thousands of pounds for PPE for local hospitals and hospices and to raise spirits with online quizzes and community scarecrow competitions.

“Tom and the group have shown true community spirit and kept people smiling, making the most out of a difficult year.”