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GWR celebrates final BBC Make a Difference Superstar

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Great Western Railway (GWR) has staged the last of its train-naming events celebrating BBC Make a Difference Superstars who went above and beyond to help others during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jo Prosser, who masterminded a project in Bicester to provide one million meals for NHS frontline staff, was honoured at Oxford Station on 12 July.

GWR joined forces with the BBC in 2020 to celebrate Make a Difference Superstars from nine BBC Local Radio regions. Jo is the last of 18 heroes to be awarded train-name fame for selflessly helping others at the peak of the pandemic.

Jo left behind her husband and much-loved dog in Lincolnshire for four months to spearhead a Salute the NHS project in Bicester co-founded by Ron Dennis CBE, founder of the F1 team McLaren.

As lead operations director, she worked tirelessly to coordinate 800 volunteers to deliver one million meals, boxes, bags, and 75,000 soothe and care packs to the NHS. She showed her full array of skills, from driving a forklift to managing orders, packing boxes and liaising with all the teams involved.

Always working with a smile, Jo proved an inspirational leader, setting up visits with potential partners, key celebrities and even a Royal guest.

After being nominated by listeners on BBC Oxford, Jo was selected by judges as a BBC Make a Difference Superstar, with her name now featuring on Intercity Express Train 800034.

“Jo is a true unsung hero,” said Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury (including Bicester). “It is because of the efforts of people like her that we made it through the last couple of difficult years. Jo worked tirelessly to deliver over one million meals for NHS frontline staff in Bicester. It is brilliant to see her honoured in this unique way by GWR and the BBC.”

Great Western Railway Managing Director Mark Hopwood commented: “It was a privilege to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign and the stories which featured on BBC local radio were truly overwhelming.

“Jo went to incredible lengths to support her community during the pandemic and we’re thrilled to add her name to the side of an Intercity Express Train. 

“The GWR has a long and proud history of naming trains after Great Westerners – past and present heroes from across our network – and it’s a real treat to add her to that list.”

Image credit: GWR