A BURY man has been awarded an MBE for his role in the connection of critical infrastructure during the height of the pandemic.

Peter Harding, from Whitefield, has been awarded the honour for outstanding services to telecommunications.

When the pandemic began and the TalkTalk team realised the scale of the impact, Peter took the initiative to create a new Covid-19 process for prioritising resources and connections. This was designed to match the Government's criteria for critical sites and those which needed to be prioritised

The senior delivery manager at TalkTalk worked shifts 24/7, personally stepping up to the challenge of managing over 1200 COVID-19 network connections, including sites of Critical National Infrastructure to ensure the country was connected and able to respond to the pandemic.

Supported by his team and family, he worked weekends and evenings throughout a period of immense pressure.

He said: "It’s very surreal to be receiving this award but it obviously makes you extremely happy and proud. None of what we achieved would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of numerous others who supported us to complete jobs, which would normally take four to six weeks, within 48 hours.

"This experience has demonstrated, with absolute clarity, that when faced with a challenge our teams and partners will always work together tirelessly to deliver.”

Peter was instrumental in TalkTalk delivering hundreds of key services and maintaining their connections. He supported upgrades and new connections across the whole country for around 250 food distribution and logistics providers, 80 GP surgeries, 220 Schools and 80 NHS Care Homes.

Jonathan Kini, managing director, TalkTalk Business said: “I am so pleased that he is being recognised for the amazing work he did to ensure the Nightingale hospitals and other critical sites were up and connected.

"In fact I am incredibly proud of how all the team at TalkTalk supported, and continue to support, customers and businesses during this challenging period. A big thank you to all of them.”