This article by Margaret Nicol is reproduced from The Bridge, c1989, when Hungerford Hospital closed:
The Meals on Wheels service provides a hot dinner, meat and two vegetables and a pudding, to elderly people who cannot manage for themselves and also to those just out of Hospital until they can cope again. They, have to be recommended by the Doctor or Nurse.
This service was started in Hungerford in 1964, then organised by the late Mrs. Harvey & Miss Burrard, and on 4th February the first meals were delivered by Mrs. Margaret Williams & Mrs. Jennings. The meals were cooked in a kitchen at the back of the Corn Exchange by Mrs. Greta Nichols, who did the cooking for 10 years until she retired at the the age of 76. A band of helpers did the delivery and helped in the kitchen. In 1964 the cost of a meal was 1/6d. and a 3d. subsidy today the cost is 80p. Later Hungerford was joined by Inkpen, Lambourn & Great Shefford.
When the meals are cooked, every Tuesday & Friday, they are dished up into containers and placed in hot retaining containers for delivery. Nearly all the work in the kitchen, delivery and preparation is voluntary. Mrs. Mary Talbot took on the cooking for Friday meals in 1974, and after a series of cooks, Mrs. Jones and then Mrs. Joyce Clare the Tuesday meals. Mrs. Golding was the organizer for a short time followed by myself.
With a generous donation we were able to improve the kitchen and had a storeroom made. we were all sad when the kitchen had to be closed due to the Corn Exchange renovations. After a very worrying period, meals are now cooked at the Hospital. At first they were cooked by Mary & Joyce plus helpers but recently the Hospital was closed and now the meals are cooked & dished up by the Chef - so we only have to find drivers and mates.
We are very sorry to loose Mary & Joyce, who have done so much for Meals on Wheels; we cannot thank them enough for their hard work - together with all the others helpers past and present. Without the drivers and mates there would be no 'Meals on Wheels', which the old people look forward to and appreciate. We understand that the Meals on Wheels will continue at present from the kitchen and later from the new Day Centre.