Lincolnshire grandmother is crowned UK’s official “Neighbour of the Year” for heroic pandemic response

20 December 2021

  • Over a quarter of Brits surveyed (29%) feel more inclined to get involved in community or fundraising initiatives this festive season
  • Almost a fifth (19%) are more likely to check in on an elderly, vulnerable or single neighbour this year
  • Survey results are revealed as Lynnette Pryke, from Lincolnshire is announced as Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch’s official Neighbour of the Year 2021 following her heroic response to pandemic

New research from Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch out today has revealed that UK adults are thinking more of others this festive season, with 75% agreeing that it is more important than ever to help vulnerable, lonely, and less fortunate people this Christmas.

Since last year’s lockdown festivities, more than a quarter (29%) of 2,000 UK adults surveyed say they are more inclined to get involved in community and fundraising activities this year. And one in five (21%) of those surveyed believe that community spirit is on the rise compared to the same time last year.

What’s more, almost a fifth (19%) of Brits are more likely to check in on an elderly, vulnerable or single neighbour this year compared to last.

Charles Offord, managing director at Co-op Insurance, said: “It’s heartening to see that three quarters of UK adults are more concerned about helping people that need it most in our communities this Christmas. The past 22 months have been incredibly tough for so many people, especially those living alone who may have been feeling more vulnerable than ever. Our research is a strong indicator that neighbourliness, looking out for others and a sense of community spirit in neighbourhoods is on the rise.”

The research was carried out as part of Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch’s Neighbour of the Year Awards and announced on the day that 48-year-old mother-of-four Lynnette Pryke, from Lincolnshire, is crowned as the UK’s official Neighbour of the Year.

The annual awards, now in their fourth year, were established to celebrate those special people who go above and beyond to support their neighbours and wider communities.

Lynnette’s story of heroism began just as the UK was plunged into lockdown last March – feeling compelled to act quickly, she set up a support network called Alford Hub to bring together her remote rural Lincolnshire community.

Since then, Alford Hub has dealt with a staggering 49,000 appeals for help from local people in all manner of ways, including arranging prescription deliveries and supporting people living with dementia. The Covid isolation team collects and delivers shopping for local residents. The hub also provides much needed mental health and wellbeing support.

In November 2020 Lynnette sadly contracted Covid herself but was so committed to carrying on the invaluable work of the hub that she continued running it from her hospital bed. She is now being treated for long Covid and needs oxygen every day.

Lynnette, who has just become a grandmother for the first time, has been volunteering for the last 31 years. Five years ago, Lynnette had a stroke which has affected one side of her body. Despite her own health challenges, she continues to successfully grow the hub, bringing new services and support to the community.

Lynnette has been awarded the title by a panel of judges from Co-op and Neighbourhood Watch for her unwavering dedication to her neighbours and local community. This year, Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of national treasure Captain Sir Tom Moore and Co-founder of The Captain Tom Foundation, was welcomed onto the panel to find the nation’s most outstanding neighbours.

Lynnette Pryke, Neighbour of the Year, 2021, said: “I am so honoured and humbled to have won Neighbour of the Year. To me, community means everything. Last Christmas, the hub delivered shopping and Christmas presents to people in Alford who we knew would be alone. I bought one lovely gentleman a pair of socks and delivered Christmas dinner. He was supposed to be spending Christmas with his family but lockdown sadly put a stop to that. I received the kindest message from his son thanking us for the care we’d shown his father. That’s what this is all about. Helping others. I’d like to thank all the wonderful volunteers who have helped make Alford Hub what it is today.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network and a judge this year, said: “There were so many outstanding nominations again this year and it was an extremely tough decision but Lynnette’s tireless work, even in the face of her own health challenges, really stood out. What’s clear is that there are many selfless people carrying out the most extraordinary acts of kindness across the UK and her award is to celebrate all of the unsung heroes that we don’t get to hear about.”

“Alongside Co-op Insurance, we’re encouraging everyone to support each other and look out for their neighbours at Christmas and over the winter months, especially those who may be elderly, vulnerable or isolating. Small gestures, like a quick phone call, can mean so much to people.”

Hannah Ingram-Moore, said: “Neighbour of the Year is such an important project to be involved in. The difficult times we’ve all gone through recently has truly brought out the best in people’s human nature and I was astonished at just how much Lynnette has done for others. She is a very worthy winner and her contribution to her local community will have improved the lives of so many people. It’s an honour to crown her Neighbour of the Year 2021!”

ENDS

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2076 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 2nd December 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).