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Inspirational Del and family make special delivery for needy families

Del Singh, wife Jas and daughters, Lachami, Neelam and Karishma delivered Valentine's meals to 50 families across Peterborough last Sunday - and even kept going for a day or so afterwards. Here's what happened in his own words - and the "wake-up call" that the family received on their travels.
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Del Singh and family made an inspirational Valentines Day journey

My wife and I were out doing couch to 5k and we went out on Friday, the first one at Ferry Meadows in a while after I had had Covid. 

We were mindful that Valentines was coming up and we were reminiscing about the year before, and that we had been at a lakeside lodge as a couple.

We realised there were a lot of people and couples struggling right now, and we thought that rather than just getting flowers for each other that last three or four days - it's a bit of a waste of money, speaking as a curmudgeonly old git.

So we thought why not spend that £25 on a meal for a couple who are struggling, on a day of love. 

My wife thought it was a great idea and the next morning I put it out on CoronaHeroes, asking that if anyone knows someone who is struggling and deserving of it - maybe their wedding has been cancelled - they can nominate people by sending us a message.

There was a flood of requests - sons, daughters, friends - but also a lot of people nominating their partners. Some of them told us their partner had been laid off and they weren't doing anything for Valentine's because they couldn't afford it.

Others talked about the sickness and illness they were going through, suffering from cancer treatments that had been cancelled, or children that were unwell.

One told us that her husband had walked out on her and left her with three kids. 

It was a really hard read.

We found one couple that we would do something for, but we felt rotten, because it was the tip of the iceberg. 

So my wife said "Why don't I cook something for some of these people?" We couldn't afford Deliveroos for them all, so we worked out how to do it with our daughter. I messaged people and asked if they were happy to receive an Indian meal with a starter, main course, and sweets and muffins, with free delivery. Pretty much everyone said that would be lovely.

So on Sunday morning we went out and brought the produce and cooked it and packaged it up - samosas, spring rolls, a chicken curry, rice, a dahl and naan breads. We went out in two cars and delivered to 50 couples around the city. My wife and the girls did the heavy lifting, they were phenomenal.

We finished at 7pm, delivered it to everyone, and by the time we got home there were already messages - couples who walked into the room and saw their children had laid it out for them. It was general gratitude and that was all we needed really.

But at the same time it was quite a wake-up call to see the way some people are and how they're suffering. 

It was summed up when my daughter went to one particular house and as she handed over the dinner to a lady, and a six year old popped their head around the door and said "mummy, have we got dinner tonight?"

My daughter went back to the car and broke down. She has a six year old herself and thought about all the nights when mummy has to say no.

This is Britain in 2021, but it might as well be out of a Dickens novel. Austerity had already damaged people and then Covid came along and it's a double whammy.

I know there are cynics out there who say that we "shouldn't give these people money because they'll spend it on crack dens" but when you see it first hand unless you're heartless you can't do that. 

We had more messages saying people would love to take part. One lady asked if we'd got any leftovers - her partner had left her and she had children of two and three, and he cooker had broken.

So for our next meal we made some extra, and then drove out to her, quite a way outside Peterborough, with a package of food. 
It's all a drop in the ocean, but hopefully it makes a difference. 

Overall it's commendable that there are groups like Coronaheroes Peterborough and there are a lot of people coming together  with small gestures The problem is that you can't have people relying on that because in the end food parcels will stop.

99.9% of people who have responded to me on LinkedIn when I posted that what we were doing is not a holiday, or a Ferrari, or a gem of wisdom - it's an essential meal, that many take for granted. That has had more than 10,000 people say what a poignant post it is.

It will not go away after Covid. We need to do more. People like Marcus Rashford are brilliant, and I just wish some of the politicians and people who have big money would let it trickle down to those who need it. 

This is part one of an interview with Del - keep an eye on our site this week for his views on health, racism and the future of Peterborough.