A TOP CHEF has put his time on furlough to good use by cooking up almost 1,000 meals – and counting – for hard-pressed NHS workers at Frimley Park Hospital and local ambulance stations.

Gavin Roche was, until recently, the sous chef at the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland – and now works for a corporate catering company in London.

He was placed on furlough at the outset of the coronavirus lockdown – but alongside five colleagues has decided to volunteer his time and skills to keep NHS staff well fed.

Gavin is now devoting around ten hours a day to producing the vegan meals and salads, and last Friday alone packaged up 180 meals for Frimley workers.

He told the Herald that hospital staff were moved to tears when he turned up unannounced with 100 salads on his first day of operation – and by putting his company’s supply chain to good use, they are also helping keep producers and farmers in business.

* Reader Brian Daly has highlighted the work being carried out by the area’s many independent convenience shopkeepers.

He says: “My nearest convenience store is the one pictured, at the western end of Farnham in West Street.

“Anand Patel has traditionally provided local people with newspapers and convenience items, and has always stocked a varied range of products.

“However, during these difficult times, Anand has become more of a lifeline to many older people. He has increased his range to try to accommodate the needs of people unable – or perhaps unwilling – to venture further into town.

“Anand is open for some 12 hours a day, but now his day is extended because he has to be at his wholesalers by 6.30am to queue for entry – there are restricted numbers – to be able to maintain his stock.

“He knows his regular customers well and he has concern for their wellbeing.

“I am sure all his customers salute and thank him – and others like him – for providing such an important service this time.”

* When Frimley Park Hospital recently sent out a request for protective goggles for staff, Weydon School was only too glad to assist.

Luckily, the Farnham secondary’s science department had a stock of goggles and donated 270 pairs to the hospital – greatly appreciated by the staff.

Jackie Sharman, principal, said: “We were so pleased to be of some help to such a worthy cause during this difficult time.”

Weydon has also thanked Waitrose, Cook, Bookers and Farnham Town Council for offering donations for the children of key workers while on Easter camps.

* Highfield and Brookham Schools in Liphook have launched a #TogetherWeCare movement, challenging pupils to perform a new ‘act of kindness’ every week.

As well as displaying rainbows in their windows to show support for the NHS, pupils have baked cakes for Haslemere Health Centre, written thank-you cards to NHS staff and read stories to relatives via video calls.

* Virtual fitness classes, choirs, classrooms and even nights out have become commonplace – but now Frensham and Dockenfield Horticultural Society has taken it a step further with a virtual Spring Show.

The show took to the web last Saturday “just for fun and to celebrate the glorious spring which has come upon us”, open to members and non-members.

* “I would just like to thank the wonderful gardeners of Farnham Town Council for the beautiful spring displays we have been enjoying in these unusual times,” writes Teresa Gilroy.

“The colourful displays in all the troughs and tubs, the flowers outside the locality office, the beds around the war memorial, plus the myriad other plantings around the town and villages have made life so much more bearable.”

* Staff at Frensham Heights School have been working over the holidays, first to produce protective visors – but now also laundry bags, scrubs and hair ties for medical staff at hospitals in Guildford and Frimley.

They distributed their first 100 visors and 30 laundry bags last weekend and are now working on scrubs. The patterns will be shared at www.frensham.org to allow parents, students and others to get sewing at home.

The school has also donated 3,000 protective gloves to Farnham ASSIST, which has in turn shared them with its own volunteers, Meals on Wheels and Farnham Foodbank.

* Bin crews in Waverley and East Hampshire have been “overwhelmed” with the level of support and appreciation shown by the public, from people waving thank-you banners from inside their homes, shouting messages of goodwill out of bedroom windows and attaching messages and children’s drawings on bins.

* “Thank you so much Secretts for your delivery the other day of fruit and veg for our staff,” wrote a spokesman for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. “It was very much appreciated.”

* A group of 35 “seamstresses” from across the Herald area are combining their efforts to stitch scrubs for NHS staff and care workers.

The group is led by Headley Down-based curtain maker Mel Downing, of Melanie Downing Interiors, but includes members from Farnham, Haslemere and further afield – the youngest of whom is just ten years old.

They have to date raised more than £5,000 for fabric via https://tinyurl.com/wwyjq5b

* A dinosaur has been spotted in Bordon. Every day, the life-size ‘Tommy T-Rex’ is posting a different route for his daily exercises online, and waving to children on his travels. Find ‘Tommy T Rex Bordon Adventures’ on Facebook.

* The Physiotherapy Centre at Holy Cross Hospital is offering a free telephone or video physiotherapy consultation to NHS staff. To take up the offer, call 01428 647647 or email [email protected]