Coronavirus: Milkman offers extra help to isolated older customers

coronavirus milkman offers extra help to isolated older customers - Coronavirus: Milkman offers extra help to isolated older customers
Image caption Tony Fowler has been checking in on his elderly customers, like 84-year-old Ruth Cannock

A milkman who has become well-known for taking bread, washing up liquid and tea to his customers has added to his services as many begin to self-isolate.

Tony Fowler has been covering villages in north Leicestershire for more than 35 years.

In recent weeks he has changed light bulbs, picked up prescriptions and shared books for his elderly customers.

“We have had fuel shortages, foot-and-mouth and milk shortages, but I have never let them down before,” he said.

Many of Mr Fowler’s customers are over 70 and therefore have been advised to stay indoors.

“They trust me to always be there, even in bad weather, to check on them,” he added.

“What’s worried them now is not quite knowing what’s going to happen and for how long it will be like this.”

Image caption Milkmen and women are the eyes and ears of the community, Tony Fowler says

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, Mr Fowler said he had been called on to deliver extra supplies for those who could not go to the shops and had even taken a cat to the vets for one customer.

He said he was always stocked up with toilet roll, cleaning supplies and dry foods to deliver.

“Milkmen and women are always seen as the eyes and ears of the community,” he added.

“We are trusted and have always done what we can to help customers. I’ve unblocked sinks and fixed fence panels before.

“But in the last few weeks it’s about making sure people are OK, keeping in touch and trying to have a calming effect, and not getting hysterical about it.”

Shirley Gilbert, 76, from Melton Mowbray has been a customer of Mr Fowler’s for 35 years.

“It’s a lifeline for us,” she said.

“My husband Colin has had a stroke so we are trying to stay away from people as much as we can but we have still got to get food and other things.

“We can’t get on the bus and go to the shops and don’t have computers to shop online but Tony can deliver them.”

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