MORE than 1,000 prescriptions have been delivered to people's doorsteps across north Oxfordshire during lockdown thanks to a group of dedicated athletes.

An army of runners and cyclists have covered a combined distance of 4,300 miles - the equivalent of running from Cherwell to Turkey and back - to deliver much-needed medication to self-isolating residents.

They form Cherwell District Council’s Oxfordshire Supply Runs which launched in April and have delivered a total of 1,300 prescriptions to people's homes..

The group consists of volunteers from Banbury Harriers Athletics Club, Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club and Alchester Running Club in Bicester who have cycled and run their way to locations, acting as the new go-between for pharmacies and patients.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “This impressive scheme goes right to the heart of what community is all about. At times of extreme difficulty, we’ve seen volunteers who have really gone the extra mile, supporting the most vulnerable people in our district by delivering essential medication.

"I can’t thank them enough for their efforts in taking part in this excellent project.”

Oxford Mail:

The Cherwell initiative, which is coming to an end tomorrow, sought to alleviate pressure on pharmacies as the pandemic reached its peak.

The scheme is now drawing to a close in Banbury and Bicester, with many shielding residents now being able to leave their homes and volunteers returning to work.

Robert Kerr, chairman of Alchester Running Club has helped to organise the service in Bicester.

He said: “I never had to wait longer than two minutes to get a positive response for a pickup and delivery, which tells you how the club has reacted to the scheme.

"If we have helped in a small way to easing some patients lives, then that is gratifying.”

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Paul Dean, president of Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club said: “The delivery scheme has allowed the 30 volunteer riders to continue riding their bikes, enjoy the great weather and very light traffic conditions whilst making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of so many residents.

"Along the way we’ve met some wonderful residents who have greatly appreciated the continuity of their medical supplies and also helped further raise the profile of the club and cycling in general.”

Oxford Mail:

In Cherwell, 2,780 residents have been asked to shield by the NHS during Covid-19.

Oxfordshire Supply Runs will make its final deliveries in Banbury and Bicester at the end of July, but if there is any subsequent need for the service, Cherwell has committed to restarting the initiative to support those in need.

James Charles, vice chairman of Banbury Harriers Athletics Club said: “Being part of this initiative has been a real highlight for the club. At a very difficult time, our members have come together and made a real difference to people’s lives.

"We’ve covered countless miles and visited areas of the town we’ve never been to before. I am extremely proud of everyone who’s been a part of Oxfordshire Supply Runs.”

Kidlington And Surrounding Area community group (KASA) has offered a similar programme to help residents who are self-isolating there.

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It has supported more than 250 households throughout lockdown, from shopping and prescription collection to allotment tending, and says it will continue supporting the local community.

Any residents who are still unable to leave the house after July, and have no means of collecting their medication, can contact the dedicated shielding helpline for ongoing help with prescription deliveries on 01865 89 78 20 or email