Vimal Pandya: Rotherhithe holds rallies around covid hero facing exile


A shopkeeper honored by the queen for her important task of delivering essential goods to vulnerable families during the pandemic is facing exile.

Vimal Pandya, 41, worked 20 hours a day serving 55 families at Halai General Stores in Rotherhithe, while he was barred from employment and living in “constant fear” as he left the home office to stay in the country. The battle was fought.

He told the Standard: “I was scared like everyone else but I put it aside. I was praying to God to take care of me.

“But I thought someone needed to step in. People were taking advantage of the pandemic by charging 1,000 per cent more for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But I didn’t take a single penny extra. They are my family away from home. “

His work was recognized on 12 February this year when he received a letter from Sir Kenneth Olissa, the Queen’s personal representative in Greater London.

The letter read: “It has come to my attention that you are one of those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Queen’s London representative sent a letter of recognition to Mr. Pandya

, the countryside

“That’s why I am writing to thank you personally for all your efforts and to encourage you to continue to make a positive difference to Londoners.”

Mr Pandya said: “I could not dare to dream of being recognized by the Queen. I had to check several times that the letter was actually meant for me.

“I used to cry for hours but couldn’t tell anyone why exactly I was crying. I was in this situation.

“I was afraid every single day that I would not be found out. I was living in constant fear that someone would knock on my door and everything would be taken away from me.

“When they took me away from my workplace. This is not good. Everyone was wondering where I am.

“I didn’t open up or tell anyone because I was embarrassed that I was facing this situation.”

He added: “I am mostly staying indoors now. I’m 2-3 hours as a volunteer at Sue Rider doing a few shifts just to keep busy