Iceland 50th anniversary: Rustington Covid hero meets Prince Charles at celebration
Rustington Covid hero Adam Smith has spoken to Prince Charles about his work, after being invited to a celebration ceremony to mark 50 years of Iceland on the British high street.
Adam, an Iceland home delivery driver, was among four colleagues invited by managing director Richard Walker as they went the extra mile in supporting Feed the Nation during the Covid crisis, ensuring the most vulnerable in the community were looked after.
Adam, who was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last year, said it was an honour to be one of the few invited to the company’s headquarters in Deeside for the event on July 5.
Abbey Darwin, Rustington store manager, said: “Adam is an asset to my store and our local community. He is a genuine hero and the most kind-hearted man I know.
“He still continues to get vulnerable people’s shopping, or just people who don’t have access or ability to go shopping. He does it in his own time with only care in his mind. He makes me proud and our company proud every day.”
The Prince of Wales was shown around the head office, store, kitchen, warehouse and loading area, being introduced to key members of the team on the tour.
Adam and the other Covid heroes were able to meet Prince Charles and speak personally about their roles, the difficulties their stores had faced and what they do in their own time, when they are not working.
Adam said: “It was an honour to be invited to the event and to meet HRH the Prince of Wales, and to represent all the 30,000 other colleagues who work for Iceland and have worked tirelessly through the pandemic, which also continue to do so.”
Adam was awarded the BEM for going above and beyond the call of duty during the lockdown, making sure elderly and vulnerable shoppers in the village got the supplies they needed and had someone to talk to.
Speaking to the Gazette last year, he said: “I was very shocked to be nominated and absolutely amazed to hear from the Cabinet Office to tell me that I was to receive the award.
“My family are very proud with what I have achieved, and when I told my father he was beaming with pride, even more so because he received a similar award over 25 years ago. I am so pleased I was able to serve my community and give help to people when they had no one else to turn to.”
Adam started working at the Churchill Parade store in June 2019, after moving to Rustington from Watford.
The Cabinet Office said Adam was chosen because he ‘committed every hour he could to serving those most in need’.
Having seen that some customers did not have a support network, in his spare time he would collect customers’ shopping lists, head back to the store to do their shopping and drop off their supplies later on.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said it showed ‘extraordinary compassion’ and that ‘he has been a true lifeline to these people’.
When Iceland had a recruitment drive at the height of demand for deliveries during lockdown, he linked up with another local store and coached the six new drivers to give the best possible service and care to the customers they serve.
Iceland said it had received ‘countless letters of gratitude’ from customers, with many saying ‘they did not know how they would have coped without his help at the peak of the crisis’.
A spokesman for the company said his actions ‘created a butterfly effect within the business’, shaping its response to the crisis.