The Justice Minister poured a drink at a Chiseldon pub in tribute to a businessman who has served 2,000 free meals for key workers and vulnerable people.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland was at the Patriot Arms – also known as the Chiseldon Smokehouse Bar and Grill – to pay tribute to the work of Raj ‘Sunny’ Patel and his team.
Sunny runs QMS Store in Ferndale Road and the Alexandra Park Convenience Store in Wroughton, and also manages the Chiseldon venue alongside Sanjay Dogra.
He founded Swindon Volunteer Group with fellow community champion Pradeep Bhardwaj and during the coronavirus crisis has led a campaign to feed vulnerable people and vital personnel.
Mr Buckland said: “I recently awarded Sunny, Sanjay Dogra and his team at the Patriot one of my Covid Community Champion Awards for their outstanding work within the local community here in South Swindon.
“During the Coronavirus pandemic, they’ve served 2000 free meals, cooked by chef Sanjay Dogra, to residents at risk in and around the village, as well as health and emergency workers during lockdown.
“They’ve all worked long hours to prepare, cook and deliver meals, as well as offering free masks with their takeaway orders, so it was great to be able to thank them all personally.”
Mr Buckland happily posed for – scrupulously socially distanced – photographs behind the bar.
Sunny thanked the MP for the tribute, and added: “Robert has always supported local causes, local businesses and local people, but now that he is Swindon’s first MP to become a Cabinet Minister he also brings the vital insight from the top table.
“The management also thanks the community for their support and has promised to restore the Patriot Arms to its old glory.”
Sunny’s fellow Swindon Volunteer Group founder Pradeep Bhardwaj was also present for Mr Buckland’s visit.
The group’s partners, who have helped with its work, include Broccoli Pasta and Pizza, Copacabana Brazilian Kitchen, QMS Store and N&B Foods.