Social distancing and careful face coverings could not disguise the warmth and gratitude on display when a special 'thank-you' card was handed to dedicated volunteers by a leading hospital manager.

Doctor Emanuel Umerah, deputy medical director and consultant anaesthetist at the Frimley Health NHS Trust which runs Wexham Park Hospital made a special visit to the Hindu temple in Keel Drive, Slough to hand the card to the community volunteers of the Sewa Day charity.

They have used its kitchen to provide hot vegetarian meals to hospitals in and around Slough.

Doctor Umerah said: "When the [Sewa Day ] packages of food arrived on the hospital wards, it has been such a morale booster for the staff.

"It has been a long haul, especially in April when things were looking very tight.

"Even then, we really appreciated the efforts you put in to keep our morale high. It helped the staff because they didn’t have to think about going home and cooking. They could relax and rest before they had to be back on their next shift.”

At one point the Sewa Day volunteers were cooking over 500 hot meals a day and to date they have delivered 21,000 meals to frontline workers.

Suhas Madhekar who coordinated the Sewa Day team said: “The Hindu Mandir in Slough were gracious enough to provide the venue which allowed us to cook whilst adhering to food hygiene standards and maintain social distancing requirements.

"We had businesses and individuals donate food and money. And finally and perhaps the most inspiring, with the selfless efforts of over 100 volunteers, we have been able to give some comfort to our health worker heroes.

"The original concept of Sewa Day was simple, to unite the community to work collectively for the good of society on one day each year. This crisis has provided us with an opportunity to truly make everyday a Sewa Day.”

The Sewa Day charity started in 2010 to encourage volunteers to help in their communities. The current crisis has presented its biggest challenge yet.