Brakes duo recognised in New Year Honours List 2021

Two key figures from Brakes, the leading foodservice company, have been recognised in the latest New Year’s Honours list for their roles in launching the Government’s programme to provide food boxes to the clinically vulnerable during lockdown.

Brakes’ Supply Chain and Operations Director, Alex Mayfield, (pictured), and Lead Solution Designer, Ricky Sercombe, were awarded MBEs, recognising their pivotal roles in leading the Brakes team that created and launched a service to support the shielding clinically vulnerable with vital food boxes during the first nationwide lockdown.

Working with the Government, Brakes, in partnership with Bidfood, conceived and launched the service, delivering the first boxes direct to those who most needed them in only nine days. We are very proud that Brakes colleagues have been recognised for the role they played as essential ‘key workers’, that alongside many other largely unseen organisations, ensured food and supplies got through to those in most need.

Brakes was also responsible for food supply to critical institutions such as the NHS and the care sector as they struggled to cope with the difficulties caused by the pandemic, and worked with retailers to provide much needed products to fill empty shelves in the early days of the crisis.

Alex Mayfield was instrumental in developing and leading Brakes’ approach to creating this unique service, coordinating supply, procurement, packing and distribution in record time. Ricky Sercombe was integral in ensuring the initial data was collated into a meaningful and workable plan, overcoming issues with its accuracy, consistency and timeliness, working round the clock to ensure that deliveries could be made to the shielded vulnerable population.

Hugo Mahoney, CEO at Brakes, said: “The MBEs given to Alex and Ricky reflect the resilience, innovation and resourcefulness of our business in developing and launching a service to support the clinically vulnerable at a time when many of those most in need were unable to access food and essential supplies.

“The well-deserved honours are a fantastic recognition of the boundless energy and resourcefulness they displayed in leading their teams at a very challenging time. I’m very proud of how they drew the business together to deliver such a valuable service so quickly, at a time when many supermarkets were displaying empty shelves and were not able to provide delivery slots.

“Brakes rose to this challenge as one, and the awards recognise the dedication and commitment from the thousands of drivers, packers, contact centre operators and planners that created and delivered this service from a standing start in days.”

Alex Mayfield said: 'I am delighted and proud to be among those honoured. This has been a difficult year for everyone, but particularly the hospitality industry. The food box scheme for the vulnerable shielded allowed all of us at Brakes to show our resilience and capabilities at the most difficult time. To be recognised for my contribution in creating the scheme is humbling and amazing.'

Ricky Sercombe said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the email and four weeks later it hasn’t truly sunk in. On reflection I can only say how proud I am. Not personally, but of how everyone at Brakes was able to support those needing food in lockdown. Colleagues across Brakes worked so hard to make deliveries possible. The greatest thing to see was the feedback our drivers received from all over the country, from those they had delivered boxes to.”