Local man Sean Wallace was nominated last year by Croydon Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association Coordinator Danielle Exall and other neighbours for a Local Hero Award, but due to Covid restrictions the presentation of his certificate was delayed.
Sean works for Hamid Lakha at the Heathfield Newsagents in Chapel View. He began working for Hamid back in 2012 whilst studying at college. Hamid was happy to give Sean a job to help him boost his confidence and social skills as he is on the autistic spectrum. Sean started out by stacking shelves and cleaning up but Hamid soon realised that he was patient and a quick learner, and he offered Sean a permanent job in 2015.
When Hamid fell ill at the beginning of April 2019, Sean told him to go home and rest. Unfortunately, Hamid became very sick with undiagnosed Covid-19 and was not able to return to the shop until June.
During this time, Sean shone! He took over the reins of Shopkeeper/Manager, keeping the shop open every day from 6am until 2pm. He implemented social distancing rules and signs, including notices updating customers on Hamid’s recovery.
When told that he had been nominated as a Local Hero, Sean nearly burst with pride, as too did his family. Sean said that “it is very, very nice and surprising when customers greet me and know my name! I really enjoy helping Hamid”.
Sean, shown here with his parents, Brian Udall, Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch Croydon and Hamid Lakha, was presented with his certificate on Saturday by the Mayor of Croydon Councillor Sherwan Chowdhury in front of a large crowd of his customers.
At the presentation local Councillor Robert Ward said "The whole community has been through challenging times through the pandemic. Sean rose to that challenge and in doing so he is an example to us all".