A South Woodford care manager who took in a struggling friend during the pandemic was surprised to win a trip to the bucket list and a year of free pizza.
Frank Colley was recognized as part of PizzaExpress’s national Share a Smile campaign, which celebrates people who have gone above and beyond to help people within their communities throughout 2020.
Members of the public have been called upon to nominate 13 community heroes across the country who have helped make this difficult year bearable.
Frank, who works with the Leonard Cheshire charity that helps people with disabilities, had the surprise of a lifetime when his friend Alex Castro and PizzaExpress organized a strategically placed notice board – which Frank could see through his window. his office – to stop outside and start playing touching messages from friends and family.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Frank couldn’t believe his eyes when the billboard revealed that he had not only won £ 1,000 – the equivalent of a year’s worth of pizza – but also his dream trip to Disney World in Florida.
You can also watch:
Frank said: “You know your friends are always there for you – it makes you feel really special.
“After everything we’ve been through this year, it’s just overwhelming.”
When the nationwide lockdown went into effect in March, Alex was in the process of buying his first home, which, due to circumstances beyond his control, unfortunately failed – leaving him nowhere to go as he tried to figure out exactly what the lockdown would mean and how long it would be here for.
Frank took it upon himself to welcome Alex, providing him with a place to stay for as long as he needed (eventually six months), until he could move into his own accommodation.
While taking Alex anytime was a huge decision, it was clear how easy it was for Frank to do it, simply seeing the situation as helping a friend when they needed it most – an extension of the little things they needed most. ‘he is known to do for everyone in their community on a daily basis.
Alex commented: “Like a lot of people, the lockdown had a major impact on me – but for Frank to greet me no questions asked, made a huge difference and really helped me when I had the most. need.
“He’s one of the most caring people I know; even before the lockdown he was doing the little things that would help you get up if you’re depressed so it was a pleasure to be able to surprise him like that with the help of PizzaExpress.
“I know he will love the trip!”
Whether it was surprising loved ones with a bottle of wine they passed by, collecting Easter eggs and delivering them to the children’s hospital – the kindness and generosity he has shown. proofs throughout the lockdown have been endless.
As a huge Disney fan, Frank has always dreamed of going to Florida and visiting The Happiest Place on Earth and now, thanks to Alex’s appointment, he will finally be able to make this unforgettable experience.
Zoe Bowley, General Manager of PizzaExpress, added, “We would like to congratulate Frank on being one of our Share A Smile winners, and thank Alex for helping us recognize all he has done for others throughout. long this difficult year.
“If there’s one thing we think everyone will take from 2020 onwards, it’s that the little things matter, and Frank’s endless kindness and generosity is a testament to that. We are delighted to help him. to make his dream trip to Disney World!
“Impromptu meals with friends, time spent with loved ones and daily little acts of kindness make a huge difference, and we join the nation in hoping that the pandemic will be brought under manageability as soon as possible, so that people can go on and enjoy life together again.
Alex said when he first heard about the Share a Smile contest, he knew he had to name Frank because he’s the most selfless person he knows.
He added: “For me the lockdown was really tough. My job was at major risk, there were some really dark days during that time.
“Frank welcomed me when I really needed it.
“He was always watching me, to see if I needed anything. It just makes you feel like you are being taken care of.
“He’s one of those people who keeps helping.
“Frank is a big kid at heart and it would be his absolute dream to be able to go to Disney World.
“I don’t think he expects anything in return.”
To say thank you, Frank sent Pizza Express coupons to everyone who named him.