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Pauline Bettoney packs meals to be delivered to people who are unable to leave their homes. For the past five years, RAF Mildenhall airmen have helped the Women’s Royal Volunteer Service deliver meals.

Pauline Bettoney packs meals to be delivered to people who are unable to leave their homes. For the past five years, RAF Mildenhall airmen have helped the Women’s Royal Volunteer Service deliver meals. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Pauline Bettoney packs meals to be delivered to people who are unable to leave their homes. For the past five years, RAF Mildenhall airmen have helped the Women’s Royal Volunteer Service deliver meals.

Pauline Bettoney packs meals to be delivered to people who are unable to leave their homes. For the past five years, RAF Mildenhall airmen have helped the Women’s Royal Volunteer Service deliver meals. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Tech. Sgt. Daniel Ballinger, an electrician with the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron, chats with Lawrence Pollington, 99, after delivering a meal to his home in Newmarket.

Tech. Sgt. Daniel Ballinger, an electrician with the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron, chats with Lawrence Pollington, 99, after delivering a meal to his home in Newmarket. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

NEWMARKET — With a smile, Tech. Sgt. Daniel Ballinger handed over a hot meal of lamb chops to Lawrence Pollington as part of a meal-delivery service in this town about 10 miles from RAF Mildenhall.

Even though the 99-year-old Pollington was hard of hearing, he seemed to enjoy the company of Ballinger and Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Burns, both members of the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron, before they left his home to drop off another meal.

Every Thursday, a few members of the Mildenhall-based squadron volunteer to help the Women’s Royal Volunteer Service here in delivering hot meals to people in need, mainly elderly unable to leave home.

The service delivers 30 to 40 homes daily, helping some elderly recipients to remain in the community and out of retirement homes.

“It keeps them in their homes rather than having them go into residential care,” said Lolita Lockwood, operations manager for the Norfolk and Suffolk County royal volunteer services.

The volunteers are sometimes the only people the elderly see all day.

“We try to give them a little conversation, but we don’t have a whole lot of time to talk, just a few minutes,” said Ballinger, who delivered meals to about 15 homes on a recent November day.

“It’s not just meals, its also social contact and making sure they’re OK,” Lockwood added.

Ballinger, an aircraft electrician, has been volunteering for the past five years and remembers one time he had to fight harsh winter weather to deliver meals.

“I was the only car on the road and it was pretty scary. It took about 2½ hours when it usually takes me about one hour,” he said.

Margaret Knights, the royal service’s project manager in the Newmarket area, said that her American volunteers are dedicated, no matter what the situation.

“I think it’s great,” she said of their volunteer service.


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