'The biggest thank you' - New Year's honour for food bank manager

Trevor Saunders.

Trevor Saunders has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours list. - Credit: James Weeds

A community-minded man who has distributed 40,000 food parcels since the beginning of the pandemic has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours list.

Trevor Saunders, 55, has been assisting people of Great Yarmouth with his non-profit organisation Mandalay Wellbeing Community Interest Company since 2017.

From the start of the pandemic Mr Saunders has been running a food bank from his premises down Victoria Arcade where he has given out almost 40,000 food parcels.

Trevor Saunders.

Trevor Saunders has helped distribute nearly 40,000 food parcels since the start of the pandemic. - Credit: James Weeds

Mr Saunders has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to the community in Great Yarmouth particularly during Covid-19.

Mr Saunders said: "It is a massive honour to receive recognition from your country.

"Not many people say thank you for what we've done.

"But this is the biggest thank you.

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"It isn't really for me, it's for the volunteers and all the shops who have helped us along the way.

"We didn't stop throughout Covid and that's what I'm most proud about."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mandalay Wellbeing began operating as a food bank and distributed food parcels to people in need.

Trevor Saunders outside Mandalay Wellbeing CIC.

Trevor Saunders said being awarded the British Empire Medal has given him a "big boost." - Credit: James Weeds

Mr Saunders, who was a goalkeeper for Norwich City Reserves and Great Yarmouth Town Football Club, said that Mandalay Wellbeing CIC never originally intended to open as a food bank.

However, the onset of Covid highlighted the need for another service in the town.

Mr Saunders said the food bank will continue to run and he will also be working on another Football Against Dementia event in 2022.

"My passion is definitely still there," Mr Saunders said.

"And this has given me a big boost.

"It was a big effort - by me and the whole team.

"But we also had a laugh.

"Let's see what the new year brings."

trevor Saunders at Wellesley Recreation Ground

Trevor Saunders organised Football Against Dementia, which saw almost 1,000 attend the Wellesley Recreation Ground in August. - Credit: James Weeds

Since 2018, Mandalay Wellbeing CIC has also given out over 7,000 Christmas stockings as part of their festive campaign.

Mr Saunders extended his thanks to all the volunteers, Dr Alisha Sheldon, Dr Liam Stevens, and all the shops and supermarkets who have helped Mandalay Wellbeing CIC since the beginning of the pandemic.