Liz Mclean, store manager at Co-op Brodick and trade improvement and response manager Jean Marie Hughes, based in Merseyside are being recognised

Two Co-op employees have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for their work to keep communities fed throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The two Co-op colleagues are Liz Mclean, store manager at Co-op’s Brodick stores on the Isle of Arran, and trade improvement and response manager Jean Marie Hughes, based in Merseyside.

Mclean was nominated for putting her store at the centre of the Isle of Arran’s community response to the crisis, including working round the clock to ensure deliveries were made to hundreds of elderly and vulnerable members of the community. This also involved liaising with local food banks and social services. She has become a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM).

“It was a feeling of disbelief when I received the letter, I thought it was a joke at first! I love our customers to bits, they are brilliant. And the way the community has responded has been incredible. Local businesses, volunteers, community groups, the local authorities and especially the port manager of Calmac, all co-operating and helping the community to get through this together,” she said.

“In addition, the whole Co-op team has been fantastic – so it feels like this is in recognition of all their hard work too. I really am delighted.”

Hughes was recognised for services to the food supply chain during Covid-19 and becomes an MBE. She was praised for her role in working closely with frontline retail workers and the Co-op’s central support centre. Her work ensured feedback and insight from Co-op’s 2,600 food stores was gathered, prioritised and acted upon – initiating and implementing a range of key measures in communities to ensure colleagues, customers and the most vulnerable in society were supported throughout.

Hughes commented: “I never expected anything like this. It really hasn’t sunk in yet – it is an incredible feeling to be recognised and honoured in this way.”