Volunteers thanked for Covid-busting deliveries

Volunteers, such as Mikey McDonald, have been helping deliver food parcels to those in need on Mull.

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A volunteer-run shopping service on Mull is coming to an end after making more than 1,000 deliveries.

People shielding from the virus on the island have relied on the network of helpers for groceries and prescriptions, and other essential errands during the crisis since lockdown.

Mull Community Council chairperson Andrena Duffin paid tribute to the sterling work of all the volunteers who have helped keep some of the island’s most vulnerable protected and safe.

Although it is hoped the service will not be needed again, she says the island can be reassured it would be ready to kick start again quickly if necessary.

‘We sincerely hope it won’t be necessary but it’s good to know that it’s worked well this time and it could work well again if needed in the future,’ she said, adding: ‘All the volunteers and co-ordinators have done an incredible job. We are all very appreciative of everything they have done for their community. They’ve carried out more than 1,000 deliveries.’

Those involved in the special delivery service have included wildlife walking guide Ruth Fleming using her Mull Magic tour bus to carry shopping rather than tourists during lockdown, and island weaver Sarah Smith, as well as many others who have dedicated their time.

Although the Covid shopping service is ending, the Mull & Iona Pantry, a food bank run as a satellite of Hope Kitchen in Oban, will continue. More than 20 households across those islands are currently getting help, at the peak of the crisis it was supporting about 40 families, said Mrs Duffin.

Back on the mainland, The Pink Shop in Benderloch has also stopped its Covid deliveries, says Elaine Munro whose family runs the world-famous business.

More than a couple of hundred deliveries have been dropped off across the Ardchattan area, from Barcaldine to Bonawe and North Connel, by volunteer shoppers, packers, and drivers.

‘It started in April and finished this week. It’s been much appreciated,’ said Elaine, with particular thanks going to Mhairi Ross, John Campbell, Gillian Stewart, Nan Johnston, Ross Christie, Roddy Campbell, Chris MacPherson, Robin Hardy, Rosie Thomson, and others including Ali Martin and Marley Squire.

‘Every one of them has been a star,’ said Elaine.