UK based Keralite Prabhu Natarajan gets honoured with The Point of Light award by the UK PM Boris Johnson for his selfless service to the community of Banbury. The Banbury MP celebrated him with ‘The Unsung Hero Award’.
After losing 11 of his family members back in his hometown in Kerala, Prabhu Natarajan chose to serve the Banbury community instead of losing himself to grief. Living so far from his home almost made him wish to help his loved ones in some way. He was quick to notice that the people around him also needed help. He made people around him his family. He had only one goal in mind, to make sure nobody else feels helpless to help their loved ones in the face of the pandemic. He became a quick local celebrity who earned a lot of social media praise for his work. Natarajan has been running volunteering services and fundraisers for almost a year now.
Natarajan, along with his wife and son migrated to England in March 2020 in pursuit of a better life and job. However, COVID-19 lockdown was imposed shortly after his arrival. Though his job prospects waned, he began helping people in need. Just as an act of kindness, on his anniversary day, he bought 15 packets of food to give to someone in distress during COVID. He put up a social media post stating he can provide food for anyone in need. To his utter surprise, within one and a half hours he received over 100 calls. This is where Prabhu began his selfless service during the time of Covid. This made him realise that there were many people in need of food, groceries and other services. He took to the streets to raise funds dressed in various guises, like Santa Claus, Ironman, Batman, Mr Incredible, Leopard and Superman. Even his wife Shilpa too dressed as Bumblebee along with their son.
How it started
News of Prabhu’s efforts spread like wildfire, nearly 200 companies and many local people contributed to help him achieve his fundraising goals in record time. Till now, Prabhu and his wife Shilpa Balachandran have raised a staggering £18,500( 19 Lakhs) for different charity organizations in the last 6 six months.
By the end of 2020 alone, Prabhu delivered 11,000 food packet items. Prabhu’s contributions were not just food but also toys, clothes and chocolates for children. He delivered food and groceries to the homes of those who deserved it as necessary. Prabhu recalls, “ in one of the fundraising events in which I dressed up as Easter bunny and decided to jump 700 times each day for 7 days on the trampoline, the target of 1200 pounds in 7 days was achieved in just 52 minutes.” In another one, his son Addhu gave away all his toys to raise 606 pounds as he was about to turn 6. His services continue.
Awards and recognition
Natarajan was nominated for the ‘Man of the Year’ by the daily Oxford Mail. He was later also conferred with The Point of Light Award by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his selfless service to the community and also received an invitation to a dinner hosted by him.
Johnson in a personal letter addressed to Natarajan thanked him for all he had done in the last year to bring moments of happiness to the families of his town. “You have single-handedly delivered over 11,000 treats to people across the town, which is a staggering achievement. You have delighted local children by doing your deliveries in a superhero costume, but the true hero is you!”
Prabhu always lived a life caring for others from his early years. For Prabhu, he didn’t do anything out of the way, being charitable had always been the way of life for him. Hailing from Olavakkode in Palakkad, Prabhu lost his father at a very young age. His mother Vijayalakshmi educated him by selling clothes at households. Prabhu was working as a medical transcriptionist in Coimbatore before migrating to England.
” I believe people are ready to help, happy to help, but they don’t know how to help, where to help. We just created a pathway.” Natarajan says. “ Happiness lies in giving. God has created us for a reason and I believe the main reason is to help others and spread happiness,” he added. Natrajan is also a part of The Lunchbox Project, which aims to help get food to the most vulnerable sections of the community.