A GROUP of cyclists who set up a delivery service at the start of lockdown have celebrated their 5,500th delivery with a visit from the Mayor of Winchester.

The Twyford-based group, the Twyford Flyers - of nearly 60 biking enthusiasts who have met weekly at The Bugle for over five years - quickly mobilised to form the volunteer-run Twyford Delivery Service to support the pub as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

But, while food deliveries helped to keep The Bugle in business and the staff in employment, a cornerstone of the local community was starting to struggle. With one of the largest catchment areas in England, covering eight villages and approximately 47 square miles of the Itchen Valley, the Twyford Surgery and Pharmacy was impacted more than most.

As demand for prescriptions and medicines grew and the pandemic took hold, patients and isolating customers were unable to safely visit the pharmacy and the need for an efficient, low-cost and secure way to deliver essential medication quickly emerged. Within a week of forming to deliver meals and groceries, the Twyford Flyers expanded their entirely volunteer-run and managed operation to provide a lifeline.

Hampshire Chronicle:

For the protection of those visiting the pharmacy, 60 volunteer queue managers utilised the next-door parish hall to safely manage a staggered flow of patients and customers into the surgery and pharmacy.

Meanwhile, 50 volunteer walkers, cyclists and drivers from the community took to the road delivering prescriptions. The delivery service runs from 1.30pm to 5.30pm Tuesday to Friday and stretches from Winchester to Bishop’s Waltham covering an additional six villages in between. The longest round recorded on foot was 18.1 miles, by bike 30.1 miles, and the most prolific volunteer Heather Robinson has now delivered 335 prescriptions.

Hampshire Chronicle:

In the past four months the delivery team has continued to deliver groceries, medicines and hot meals to vulnerable, quarantined and self-isolating families across eight villages. Last week the 5,500th prescription was delivered as lockdown continues to ease and the service starts to wind down to a skeleton team. But the team is poised and ready to leap back into action if there is a second lockdown.

The team says it is immensely proud of what they have achieved and how they have supported the community they love to be a part of, but the last word has to go to one elderly Colden Common resident, who said of the service “I have to say that I will be forever grateful to the volunteers who have delivered our prescriptions. If I was younger and healthier, I would have volunteered myself”.

If you’d like to hear more about the Twyford Flyers’ efforts, or to speak to a founder member contact lenny@bugleinntwyford.co.uk or call 01962 714888.

If you’d like to find out more about, or get involved with pharmacy deliveries contact Mike Sharpe on tpdv2020@gmail.com or 07747 692051.