Steven Nixon from Port Talbot
Steven Nixon from Port Talbot

Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen have helped put Port Talbot on the global map.

We produce some of the best steel money can buy.

And even internationally renowned artist Banksy chose to make his mark on our town.

But now, it’s time to shine a light on those local heroes who might not hit the headlines but definitely deserve all the credit we can give for their incredible efforts behind the scenes often keeping us all safe on a daily basis.

One of those heroes is former Royal Navy medic turned electrical engineer Steven Nixon (pictured above) who has, along with his colleagues, project managed over 30 COVID testing sites across the UK, including Carmarthen, Abercynon, Ebbw Vale and Bristol Airport.

Steven, from Port Talbot, works for Sunbelt Rentals and also silently manages more than 450 COVID testing stations, dealing with electrical issues, upgrades, certifications and rectification of faults across the country as well as planning more than 600 Vaccine stations throughout the UK.

His son , Ieuan Nixon (pictured above with his father), said: “I get up at 6am for work and my father is at his desk already working, I come home at 6pm and my father is at his desk working, I go out to see friends and come home at midnight and my father is working at his desk.

“He is often tasked at short notice to build other sites all across the country whilst managing the other COVID sites and no one is aware that this is all orchestrated from our small town.

“Over 8,000,000 people have now been tested for COVID-19. One of Port Talbot’s own, my father, made it happen and no-one knows.

“Tonight I came home from work to hear him planning to build 600 Vaccine stations across the country and no one knows that someone from Port Talbot is making a real difference out there.”

Ieuan has himself recently had to undergo four operations and multiple hospital appointments and added: “My father has not missed a single appointment, often driving through the night to support me.

“I’d be thrilled to see his story told, as there are many I am sure across our town that will likely go unrecognised.

“I feel it’s time people realise that our town, Port Talbot, produces some amazing people, and one of them is my father.”

 Covid testing site
Covid testing site

Steven thanked his son and his colleagues and added: “I’m immensely proud of my son, he’s had a tough time himself recently and for him to recognise the achievements of someone else is incredible.

“I’m immensely proud of Port Talbot and the people we have produced.

“The hidden gem of Wales is Port Talbot and Wales has an uncanny knack of producing great engineers.

“I love my home town but I am just a small wheel in a very large cog and there’s a lot of people that haven’t had a day off in 7 to 8 months in the fight against COVID.

“It’s been incredibly tough and we are now going into the next phase in preparing the country for the vaccine.”

 Aerial image of Covid testing site
Aerial image of Covid testing site

Steve Paskins works with Steven at Sunbelt Rentals and said: “My colleague Steve Nixon and myself (also from Port Talbot originally) have been heading the installation of emergency power for the UK Covid sites.

“We have been working 16-18 hrs a day, seven days a week to provide this support to the UK.

“Steve is highly skilled, knowledgeable and is respected amongst his peers.

“I am very fortunate to have Steve as my wingman so to speak, and we work very well together as a team.

“His commitment and dedication are second to none and he is most definitely a unsung local hero.

“Who would have known two hard working men from Port Talbot are heading the power for the UK’s temporary Covid sites.”

Gareth Hanvey has known Steve for more than 20 years and said: “He has always been hard working and family focused.

“But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an elevation to the workload and pressures that we have all faced, and none more so than Steve.

“From the beginning of the crisis in the UK, Steve’s employers have been engaged with the Governments’ response to COVID-19 through an infrastructure lens.

“Steve has been responsible for the power generation and operational set up on a host of testing sites across the UK.

“In the two decades that I have known Steve I have never seen him take on so much work and operate under such extreme pressure.

“He has worked tirelessly in a very challenging environment, over long hours with very little rest, all because he cares passionately about delivering on the Herculean requirement in front of him for the safety of the general public.

“Even though he’s been working in this manner, for a sustained period of time, Steve has never faltered in his commitment to his son’s health.

“He has always been present and laser focused on ensuring that Ieuan is cared for and supported through his own very challenging experience of COVID-19.”

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock thanked Steven for his efforts and said: “So many people have sacrificed so much over the course of the last 12 months to keep our country safe and well and it is local heroes like Steven who have been at the heart of this effort.

“As we move towards the vaccination stage of the COVID-19 pandemic which has had such a devastating effect on communities around the world we must recognise the work of the people behind the scenes who are striving day in, day out to do what they can to save lives.

“Port Talbot has produced some globally famous stars over the years but it is now the stellar efforts of our unsung heroes which I would like to honour.”

If you know someone who you feel is a local hero but has not received the recognition they deserve then please get in touch.

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