TWO shop assistants have won Chobham’s annual community award, recognised for their sterling efforts in helping customers survive the pandemic lockdowns.

Tania Turner and Emma Sullivan are joint winners for 2021 of the Bill Silk Award, an accolade for excellent work on behalf of the community.

They work at the Jonela convenience store and post office in Chertsey Road, which started offering food deliveries soon after the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March last year.

The award is made by Chobham Business Club, following suggestions from villagers. It usually goes to one person, but this year the club committee was overwhelmed with nominations for both Tania and Emma.

“They worked all through lockdown, helping residents in the area by taking orders for groceries over the telephone,” said club president Tricia Matthews. “They kept spirits up with their smiles and dedication, going over and above their job by delivering to local residents on foot.”

“A big thank you to them and the shop owner, Hemin Patel, who also delivered groceries to some local residents on foot.”

Tania and Emma were officially proposed by Christopher Glanusk and seconded by Gordon Parris, both regular customers at the store.

“I was really chuffed to get the award, which was a big surprise,” said Tania. “I’d like to say that Hemin also did a lot to help people during lockdown, making trips to the cash and carry and delivering food boxes.”

Emma was equally delighted at jointly receiving the award, which was instituted in 1985 in honour of a much-respected village policeman.

“Hemin was also really busy during the lockdowns,” she said. “But it was nice to be recognised for our work by local people.”

The winners will be invited to meet the business club members at a meal to celebrate their achievement early next year.

The club has also chosen the recipient of the Bill Silk Award for 2022 – Carole Pearce, the lettings office for Chobham Village Hall.

“We will reveal the full details of the nomination at the beginning of next year,” said Tricia.

“I would like to thank all the people who sent in nominations for the award. The response was incredible and there were so many worthy people. The number of people who give their time voluntarily to help others in our community is remarkable.”