Two engineers who were on call “day and night” to ensure hospitals, care homes, surgeries and other critical sites stayed online in the early days of the Covid crisis are to be appointed MBEs.

Peter Harding and Andrew Miller helped crucial sites, including the new Nightingale Hospitals, access the broadband connections they required.

But welcomed the recognition, but stressed that it was a team effort.

Workers at BT, Sky and Ericsson were also honoured.

Joining Mr Harding and Mr Miller on the birthday honours list were BT’s John Hayday, Reza Rahnama, Karen Smith and Gemma Towers, alongside BT Openreach’s Peter Martin and Scott McPartlin.

Sky’s managing director of customer service, Denise Allan, and her colleague, Ijeoma Nwamaka Ezeilo, were also awarded honours for their services to the telecommunications industry during the crisis.

It is believed to be the first time telecoms workers have been recognised in the annual list.

Mr Harding, a senior delivery manager at TalkTalk Business, said he was “extremely happy and proud” to be receiving the award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, but added that it felt “surreal” because he had simply been “doing my job”.

His colleague, Mr Miller, also a senior manager, was keen to point out that, although they were were ones receiving the accolades, “there were about 12 different teams of people that our work wouldn’t have been achievable without”.

They told the BBC how their workload suddenly increased as the seriousness of the pandemic and the UK’s lockdown measures took hold in March.

“The first case I had was for a food distribution centre for a well-known supermarket,” said Mr Miller – but, as the weeks went on, the caseload became “bigger and bigger”.

The centre, which had been mothballed, was suddenly needed again, as demand for food and other goods soared, with people panic-buying in the face of a forthcoming lockdown. The warehouse needed new cabling and a taskforce of engineers to fit it. Typically, such a job would take two months to complete – but it was finished in two days.

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