Mehdi Taheri joins Lionhearts after lockdown heroics from his Plymouth restaurant

Thursday 10 Dec 2020
Mehdi Taheri is the latest member of our Lionhearts squad

Mehdi Taheri became the next addition to England's Lionhearts squad, with Mason Mount making a surprise call.

The Plymouth-based chef and restauranteur proved heroic to hundreds of people during the COVID-19 lockdown, delivering food to the local community and key workers.

Together with the staff at his restaurant Fuel Catering, which produces healthy, nutritious and tasty meals, Mehdi oversaw the delivery of food to workers at Derriford Hospital and St. Luke's Charity in Plymouth while also providing for local schools and parents who were struggling to provide for their children.

And when Mehdi, a huge Chelsea fan, saw the face of Blues midfielder Mount on the screen, he was thrilled to be involved.

 

"We've been trying to do as much as we can, but I was lucky enough to have a decent team behind me," he said.

"And with the help of the community to give back to the NHS and the front line workers, the kids on half term and the Armed Forces we will keep on doing this, just to say thank you."

The Lionhearts initiative, supported by BT, will pay homage to 23 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.

And Mount paid tribute to Mehdi's work on behalf of the Three Lions squad as he was presented with squad number eight.

"It's brilliant what you're doing," he said.

Mehdi with his framed Lionhearts shirt at his restaurant in Plymouth

"Keep inspiring people, it means a lot to people

"Hopefully when all the fans are back, you can come to a game and support us in the stands."

The squad so far...

1.Captain Sir Tom Moore – Record-breaking centenarian who raised more than £32million for NHS Charities Together

2. Ranjit Singh – The wrestling coach from Wolverhampton helped organise daily meals for 300 people and the distribution of PPE equipment

5. Betty-Leigh Allinson – Football shirt enthusiast aged five who has raised over £27,000 for a Hertfordshire hospice through a cycling feat

7. Imogen Papworth-Heidel - The young footballer embarked on a mission to do a keepie-uppie for every keyworker in the UK and raised over £10,000 for nine charities in the process.

8. Mehdi Tahero - His restaurant Fuel Catering helped to feed frontline workers and members of the local community in Plymouth throughout 2020.

9. Tobias Weller – Nine-year-old inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to raise almost £150,000 for Sheffield-based charities

10. Joe Wicks - The YouTube fitness coach led the nation and beyond through a daily exercise class for 18 weeks during lockdown.

12. Nana Badu – His organisation, BADU Sports, provided a helpline, food bank and deliveries to vulnerable members of the local community in Hackney.

14. Kian Cormier - The teenager produced visors for his local community in Surrey, while continuing his studies.

15. Hassan Akkad – Award-winning film maker who answered a call to be a cleaner in his local hospital before raising awareness of NHS bereavement fund

16. Akbar Khan - Bradford-based volunteer for a charity for people with disabilities who brought their community together during COVID-19 lockdown 

17. Ayesha Pakravan - The chef set up Vital Meals during lockdown and went on to provide over 15,000 free meals to people in London

18. Dema Aktaa - Syrian refugee who helped raise money for COVID-19 outbreaks in refugee camps by walking on her prosthetic leg.

19. Tony Hudgell - Celebrated young fundraiser who raised £1.6m for the hospital which saved his life as a baby.

21. Emdad Rahman - The Barking-based volunteer ran a service delivering books around London on his bike throughout lockdown.

22. Daniel Sukula – Community leader from Bolton who, after being saved from deportation back to DR Congo, founded a centre for disadvantaged youths.

23. Jay Flynn - The virtual quizmaster helped raise money for multiple charities and entered the Guinness Book of Records during lockdown

By Nicholas Veevers