6th October 2021

Saunton Stars

From Breakfast Chef to unsung hero...

Some of you may recognise Jack as one of our Room Attendants here at Saunton. Jack has worked at Saunton since May 2016. Starting as a Kitchen Porter back in May 2016, Jack was then promoted to a Breakfast Chef in May 2017, before joining our Housekeeping team as a Room Attendant in February 2020. 

We are so proud of Jack and all of his efforts during the COVID-19 crisis, which started with him raising money for Barnstaple Ability FC. Jack was one of 23 heroes who has been recognised for inspiring communities and making a difference for others during a challenging 2020. Jack’s efforts during the COVID-19 crisis were uplifting and he is a very worthy victor of the Lionhearts squad.

The Lionhearts initiative is to pay homage to inspirational individuals who have gone above and beyond during this challenging time for the nation and kicked off with Captain Sir Tom Moore being named as the group's skipper.

Jack learned of his call-up from the Three Lions Liverpool star Jordan Henderson and said "It means the world to me, it really does” after receiving his message and squad number four shirt to confirm his place in the squad of heroes.

Jack now says he wants to use his inclusion in England’s Lionhearts squad as a platform to help more people with disabilities in his local area.

As a player with learning difficulties himself, Jack is part of the Barnstaple Ability FC, which caters for people that have either a disability or mental health issues. He helps out the club in his spare time and before the pandemic, organised a raffle draw by himself which raised over £1250 so that disabled players could continue to enjoy the beautiful game. In addition to that, he works hard to promote the club to disabled children in the area, talking about how football has benefited his life and helps others around him.

Once the pandemic struck, Jack helped keep the club’s players and team spirit together by sending cards and creating gift hampers before raising more funds by shaving off his hair and beard for charity.

"It's just phenomenal and to be recognised as part of the England Lionhearts squad, and to be alongside Captain Sir Tom Moore, it's just unbelievable. Don't ever let a disability knock your ability to achieve greatness for yourself and I want to use this as a platform for so many disabled people in our area.”

Since then, Jack has again been recognised for his efforts yet again and has been announced as a Pride of Britain fundraiser of the year award finalist.

“It’s really incredible to have been shortlisted as a Pride of Britain fundraiser of the year finalist and looking back on all of my achievements over the last year such as being a finalist for the BBC sports personality of the year ‘unsung hero’ award and then going on to be inducted into the England national football team of Lionhearts which included Sir Captain Tom Moore, it’s just phenomenal! However, I still feel that telling my story of having a learning disability and using it to help inspire other disabled people in our local community is my biggest achievement and it’s a project that I’ll continue to work on every day.” 

Here at Saunton, we are so proud of Jack and love having him as part of our team. We can’t wait to see what’s next for this ‘Saunton Star’ but keep your eyes peeled and we’ll continue to share further updates. 

Jack tells us that he has several ideas to work with, one of them including a tandem sky diving challenge. He said, “whether it’s to raise money for the terminally ill children at Barnstaple or for the Devon Ability Counts Football leagues who have over 800 disabled players playing competitive football once a month on a Sunday - it’s all very exciting stuff!”

“With all of this in mind, I do wish to say a huge thank you to everyone at Saunton Sands Hotel for their incredible support and encouragement over the last 5 years- especially during these challenging times. I’m really enjoying being back at work and it’s lovely to see the guests enjoying their stay at the hotel!” 

Keep your eyes peeled for Jack when you next stay with us!