We continue to celebrate acts of kindness in communities across the county in our #SaltOfTheEarth campaign, which we are running throughout the year with local media.
Read below the inspiring story of Derek Bratton, who has made a real difference to people’s lives during lockdown, and look out for more #SaltOfTheEarth stories published by our media partners and on social media all year.
If you know someone who makes a difference in their community, we’d like to hear about them. Tell us at SaltOfTheEarth@northyorks.gov.uk
Derek Bratton is among the people who really are going above and beyond to help people during the Covid-19 lockdown.
While he is not the only person helping others in Scarborough, he truly is exceptional. Derek is making a real diﬀerence to people’s lives, collecting shopping, delivering prescriptions, making meals and even taking one woman to the emergency dentist.
Derek, 57, of Rydal Crescent, Crossgates, is no stranger to bringing things to people’s houses; before Christmas, the father of two worked as a milkman. Deciding it was time for a change, and with a love of motorbikes, Derek invested in a large red van and started a motorcycle recovery and delivery service.
He could not have imagined the uses to which his van would be put. Friend Vicki Oliver, who was one of many people to nominate Derek as a candidate for Salt of the Earth, said: “Since the outbreak of coronavirus he has undertaken helping the elderly and vulnerable people of Scarborough and the surrounding areas with shopping trips, prescription collections and any small DIY jobs that need urgent attention.
“He helped a lady whose washing machine had ﬂooded her ﬂat and he took the wet washing home and got it dry.
“All of this is done by Derek free of charge to give a little back to the community of Scarborough.”
Another nomination came from Luke Kingston, who said: “Whilst looking through Facebook Derek came across a plea from a lady to ﬁnd a wheelchair for a gentleman with one leg, whose chair was about to collapse on him, after she had tried everywhere to locate him one but to no avail.
“Derek found one in Hull and drove through to buy and collect this out of his own pocket.
“Derek is a true local hero and if you look at his Facebook page you’ll see all the good work and many thanks from some very grateful people.”
One project Derek became involved with was the refurbishment of Scarborough Hospital Garden. Staﬀ Nurse Shan Unsworth, who spearheaded the project, said: “He’s an absolute legend with a pure heart of gold – 24carat.
“He’s helped with his big red van by collecting all the plants and other stuﬀ for us. He’s placing plants, he’s cooking you a ﬂan – it’s like he’s from another planet – he just doesn’t stop.”
Derek, who moved to Scarborough with his family when he was 15, said that when lockdown began, daughter Tia, 19, who normally lives with him, went to stay with her boyfriend in Leeds.
He said: “She knew that if I could do something while all this is going on I’d be doing it and I have been since day one.
“I’m out early every morning and back late every night. I don’t stop till I’m done. I collect shopping for the nurses. Some don’t ﬁnish until 8.30. I just keep going to keep going for as long as I’m needed.
“I’m sure that when all of this has ﬁnished there will still be a call for people like me.”
Derek says that he is doing roughly 14 shopping trips a day for those who are vulnerable or self-isolating. He reckons that he has done roughly 550 so far. He said he’s aware that there are a lot of people who need his help but won’t ask for it. He said often they are recommended to ﬁnd him via Facebook. Derek said there is never a dull moment. He collects one woman who needs to visit Scarborough Hospital twice a week for treatment. Derek also took her to the emergency dentist after a particular troublesome wisdom tooth needed urgent attention.
Derek say she has been overwhelmed by the support of the local community.
One woman, in Eastﬁeld, donated a box of masks, a box of gloves and a box of aprons to ensure he kept himself safe. Once a week, Derek also makes a meal for those who need one; cooking a stew one week and baking up to ﬁve quiches the next. Friend Karen Vasey, who has known Derek for over 30 years, said: “He brings me something every Friday. What he’s doing is really good for everybody, he’s put some hours in, that’s for sure. He does work very long days.”
Neighbour Andrea Quinn paid tribute to Derek. She said: “Throughout the pandemic and lockdown he has put others before himself working all day, collecting items, delivering to people who are in isolation (social distancing at all times).
“He has done their shopping and even advertised that he had a free slot for anyone who was stuck.
“All of this has been done at no cost to anyone, all at his own expense.
“He is such a wonderful guy and deserves the recognition. He’s a knight in red armour!”