Throughout the lockdown period, staff and volunteers at Swindon Borough Council have been delivering food supplies to vulnerable people who are unable to get out and about.

And after making daily drop offs since the end of March, the Council yesterday (8 July) made its 1,000th delivery.

The 1,000th box was even hand-packed by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, who put the finishing touches to it when she visited the Civic Offices earlier in the week.

The recipient of the box was 75-year-old John Drew for whom the food delivery service has been a real lifeline over the course of the past few months.

The 1,000th box was delivered to John’s front door in Blunsdon by council worker Lisa East and Swindon Town FC representative Mitch Coombes.

John said: “I feel like I’ve won something. I’ve never won anything in my life and, at my age, that makes this even more special. “This food delivery service has been incredible. It has made my life a lot easier because I am really concerned about going out. I can’t thank people enough for what they’ve done – thank you very much indeed.”

When he was first told that the box had been packed by a member of the Royal Family, John said: “I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a practical joke. But it was so lovely to receive the box, and everything in it looks very nice indeed.”

The food boxes contain everything from basic fruit and veg packages to more substantial amounts of meat and fish, with vegetarian options available.

A small band of Council staff and volunteers have been packing the boxes and delivering them to those in need and without close networks of support.

Volunteers have also been delivering medicine and prescriptions to people who need them and who can’t get to the pharmacy.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “It has been wonderful to see how, as a community, people have really pulled together to help each other out during this crisis.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past few months to get essential supplies of food and medicine to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“The boxes have been carefully packed at Lydiard Park and delivered quickly and efficiently and I am very pleased that we have managed to keep this service going to allow us to have delivered our 1,000th box.

“The fact The Duchess of Cornwall put the finishing touches to our landmark food parcel made it extra special, and I am so pleased John enjoyed his delivery.”