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Surprise VE Day tea for residents in lock-down who have hot lunches organised through the Crich COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group

by Geoff Brown

Dawn Harper with lunches and teas ready for delivery, outside her house decorated for VE Day

Since the beginning of the lock-down, residents of the parish who have had to self-isolate have been able to take advantage of having hot lunches delivered to their homes during the week.This was the brainchild of Dawn Harper who was in the process of setting up a new catering company from her home on the edge of Fritchley when the coronavirus pandemic began.

Dawn Harper Catering was set up to provide hot and cold buffets for any occasion, but with the downturn in demand at just the wrong time, Dawn took the opportunity to provide high quality meals, on a non-profit basis, for those needing them during the crisis. The meals are cooked fresh daily and delivered ready-plated.

This has proved to be hugely successful and she now regularly provides over 30 hot lunches each day to people who are universally grateful. And very impressed!

One of the volunteer drivers who help deliver meals to vulnerable people in lock-down in the parish.

Each day, the meals are delivered by a team of volunteer drivers who had registered with the Crich COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group, ably coordinated by Cathy Bowness.

On VE Day parish residents were encouraged to have tea in their front gardens whilst socialising (from a distance) with their neighbours. Dawn thought it would be a great idea to provide a complimentary tea to all of her regular ‘clients’ who may not otherwise be able to celebrate the day. And so an extra layer of logistical complexity was triggered as the team rushed to source appropriate patriotically themed plates, serviettes, flags and stickers.

Grateful recipients of the meals

And it worked a treat!  The clients were thrilled to receive their bonus tea and the feedback was really positive. Many members commented on how touched they were that team had gone to the extra trouble.

A fantastic effort from all involved, resulting in the continued development of strong bonds between the recipients, Dawn, Cathy and the volunteer drivers. One resident of Whatstandwell, who had been in the Royal Navy during the war, was keen to show his deliverer (from a distance) his impressive haul of medals. Very fitting.

It looks like the service will continue until things start to return to normal, at which point Dawn can return to her original plan and cater for other functions and hopefully lead a slightly less frantic life! Through this project she has demonstrated her considerable abilities!

Two of the special teas alongside a grateful resident's war medals.

Pictures provided by Cathy Bowness

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