Five-year-old Sutton local, Connor Griffin, has become an unlikely community hero during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite his non-verbal autism and having been mostly confined to his chair just a year ago, Connor has been collecting food and other essential items for local homeless charity, Sutton Night Watch, delivering food parcels to his local nursery and supporting his elderly neighbours.
Connor lives above the Ye Olde Red Lion, on Park Road in Sutton, with his mum, Erin Griffin, who is the General Manager, together they have turned the pub’s wishing well into a drop-off point for donations, leaving a list of items on a whiteboard every evening. Connor then packs up the donations himself and takes them down to Sutton Night Watch every Thursday. He also collected all the short-dated crisps and nuts from pubs in the surrounding area to drop off at the charity.
Monday’s are dedicated to Connor’s old nursery, the Sutton Opportunity Preschool, after he discovered the charity funded school was unable to provide snacks for its students during the lockdown. Connor and Erin buy and package food parcels every week to deliver to the school to ensure the disabled children and children of key workers still attending still have fresh fruit and snacks to eat.
On Tuesday Connor knits little hearts with his carer to give to his local ICU ward patients, so that they can hold one and their loved ones can hold on to the other, and on Wednesday he supports his vulnerable neighbours after seeing a call for help on a community Facebook page. The elderly couple, who live on Connor’s road, and are unable to do their own shopping or pick up the essential medicines they need.
Erin said: “Connor is so involved in helping his community now, we’ve got a routine for every day, which is really good for him too. It’s so touching for me to see him so engaged in everything he does since this time last year he was still very much dependent on his chair and didn’t have a lot of understanding of what was going on around him. Now, he is very aware and is utterly dedicated to helping whoever he can. I’m very proud of my son.
“It’s heart-warming to go outside every morning and see what the people in our community have donated at our wishing well too. It really makes Connor happy to write a list of the things people need each evening and them to have appeared by morning – it’s like it’s a real wishing well!”
Connor and Erin have also set up a GoFundMe Page to help Connor continue his work in the community. To donate to the cause, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/connors-page?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet