A PUB has done its bit to help the local community through the coronavirus crisis by delivering over 4,700 free meals to elderly people.

The Crown and Thistle, in Hoddlesden, began the service eight weeks ago when the crisis first hit with the help of an army of volunteers.

Though funds have run out the pub still intends to continue with a paid delivery service.

Landlord Mo Zabhi said: “From March 15 we had a couple of phone calls from a couple of elderly customers panicking about how they couldn’t get to the shop and how they couldn’t get what they needed because people were panic buying.

“The last thing you want if you are elderly is to be scared like that.”

In response, Mr Zabhi, along with wife Julie, their staff and several volunteers came forward to start a service which prepared meals on the pub premises and delivered them to elderly customers.

Mrs Zabhi also worked hard preparing cakes for elderly customers, while the pub offered an initial 50 per cent discount to NHS workers.

During the first week of the crisis the pub managed to prepare and deliver 200 meals, increasing this to 700 in the following weeks.

Mr Zabhi said: “The preparation of 700 meals and getting them to people is a huge task and we couldn’t have done it without the volunteers, especially the deliveries.”

He added: “On Fridays we did fish Friday, and one day we did 174 fish and chips deliveries!”

However, such generosity has not come cheaply with costs running to over £15,000, while the Crown and Thistle has not managed to secure lottery funding to continue the scheme due to being a business and not a charity.

As a result, the free meal deliveries have come to an end. However the pub is still providing meal deliveries affordable to elderly customers and is still providing a 10 per cent discount to NHS workers.

Mr Zabhi said: “I think businesses are going to struggle and we will be struggling.”

He added: “The main thing though is that people survive.”