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Trainspotting: Long Table’s Emma named a community hero


Stroud’s Emma Hurrell travelled on a train named in her honour as Great Western Railway celebrated her community heroics.

Emma was chosen as BBC Make a Difference Superstar for selflessly helping others at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Emma works at the Long Table social enterprise initiative in Brimscombe, near Stroud, and helped to create a campaign that delivered 40,000 meals across Gloucestershire.

The Long Table social enterprise provides pay-as-you-can meals for the people of Gloucestershire, from its community canteens in Brimscombe and Matson.  

Emma and her team could have easily decided to go on furlough at the outbreak of the pandemic, but instead created the Feeding the Five Thousand campaign that cooked and delivered over 40,000 meals around the county during lockdown. They fed NHS frontline workers, people in homeless shelters, those on low incomes and people who were shielding or quarantining. 

Now her name will feature at either end of Intercity Express Train 800033 as GWR continues to honour BBC Make a Difference Superstars from nine regions across the network.

Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie said: “The Long Table was at the very heart of our community throughout the pandemic, with Emma at its core. They ensured thousands of people remained well-fed – including NHS frontline workers and the homeless.

“I love visiting them and I am delighted that Emma’s name will now adorn a GWR train to mark her outstanding contribution to our community and the Long Table.”

Great Western Railway Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “Emma went to incredible lengths to support her community and we’re thrilled to add her name onto the side of an Intercity Express Train.  

““It was a privilege to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign and the stories which featured on BBC local radio were truly overwhelming.”

Head of Audio and Digital for BBC England Chris Burns said: “We have been amazed by the response of many listeners to our Make a Difference campaign on Local BBC Radio, as listeners have been helping each other out throughout the pandemic. 

“It has been humbling to learn about the kind-hearted efforts of so many in our communities and Martin and Emma are great examples to the rest of us. Congratulations to them and to the team at BBC Gloucestershire.”

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