THE boss of Carlisle-based H&H Group has praised staff for doing their bit; during the coronavirus crisis.

Richard Rankin, CEO, says he remains humbled by what he sees reported of the NHS heroes, but equally, he has singled members of his staff for special mention in his weekly diary.

“Chris Sutherland, one of our graphic designers at H&H Reeds Printers has made over 100 much-needed face masks with visors with his 3D printer, and distributed 50 to NHS carers in local hospitals, as well as local home carers, a vets practice, a supermarket in Keswick and a care home. He has raised funds for materials from a post on Facebook,” said Mr Rankin.

“Another colleague at H&H Reeds, Fiona Whelan, has been accepted for the NHS Volunteer programme as a GoodSAM Responder taking phone calls from anyone who needs to chat from 6pm to midnight each week day and all day at weekends and she has also registered for another local call support group. Amazing stuff!”

Mr Rankin went on to say that aside of the obvious effect the pandemic is having on the nation’s health, one thing that angered him was a 50 per cent in fly-tipping reported due to councils being forced to close waste sites, and having to reduce services due to social distancing.

“This refuse inevitably ends up on farmers’ land and is now a daily occurrence with quite a cost associated with it. At any time, this is bad, but in the middle of a crisis, it just adds insult to injury.

“It is a service I would rather not have to provide as it is so unnecessary, but at this time, our insurance team, H&H Insurance Brokers, are now processing claims for this and advising on new policies for farmers who have quite frankly had enough of the inconvenience and the cost. I can’t say I blame them!”

Mr Rankin went on to praise staff for thinking out of the box when it came to organising the UK’s first dedicated virtual livestock sale. “Our farming community must also be recognised as many are used to showing their cattle live in the sales ring, not making videos for online use, so this was very much out of their comfort zone.

“However, my appreciation and admiration has to go out to them for truly getting into the spirit of the event and we hope to develop and improve on this moving forward as it is the perfect example of innovation out of adversity.”

He added: “As a team, we continue to make the best of the situation, even if it feels a bit ‘groundhog day’. I enjoy the daily reports on all of their activities out of work to fill the time and space. One such event was a remote baking competition, results to be announced next week. My only regret I was unable to judge.

“Stay home and stay safe.”