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Sandwich shop owner delivers food in a bucket to terminally ill loyal customer

A man diagnosed with terminal cancer has daily meals delivered to his window in a bucket by a kind-hearted couple who own a local sandwich shop. John Goodfellow, 64, from Keswick, Cumbria, was given 18 months to live by doctors after they diagnosed him with lung cancer in 2010. Ten years later, the self-named ‘survivalist’ is still fighting on, but has been forced to isolate for three months after appearing on the government’s ‘vulnerable’ list amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although he hasn’t been outside in weeks, the retired construction worker has been helped by Jan’s Sandwich Shop owner Jan Harding, 58, and her husband Barry, 58, who have been bringing food to those who are unable to leave their homes.

Every day around lunchtime, Barry or Jan stands below John’s first floor balcony, waiting for a bucket on a rope to be lowered. They place the loyal customer’s food order inside the bucket, which he subsequently hauls up into his room before dropping money down. John, who also suffered a heart attack in 2008, has used the bucket to receive things like post and beer and says it is ‘a pretty adaptable system’. He told us: ‘It’s important I observe social distancing because I was pretty badly weakened when I was diagnosed with terminal cancer 10 years ago.

‘I’ve also had a heart attack which complicates matters and my mobility is very limited. ‘I used the sandwich shop every day when I was allowed to go outside. Their service has been brilliant. ‘When they knew I would have to be locked in my house for three months, they very kindly offered to extend their services.’ Speaking about the coronavirus outbreak, he added: ‘I’ve been pretty good in isolation. I’ve got a lovely balcony bay window so I can sit in the sun all day and I’m an Angry Birds fanatic and that takes up hours. ‘To be honest, after what I’ve been through, very little would frighten me.’

Barry told us Jan’s sandwich shop has been going for 28 years now and is very popular with both locals and tourists. The married couple have delivered food to up to 20 elderly or vulnerable customers a day during the coronavirus crisis, but John is the only one who uses the bucket system. Barry said: ‘We’ve been delivering food since the lockdown started, I’m just trying to help people out a bit. ‘We have good, loyal, local following and quite a few of our regulars have been on the 12-week vulnerable list. ‘We just thought, “they’ve looked after us for years so we’ll look after them now”. It’s got to be done, we’re all in this together.’ He added: ‘We beat Subway. We’ve got a choice of seven breads, about 40 fillings and you can make your own sandwich if you want from basic ham right up to the New Yorker.’ ‘John’s favourite meal is baked potato, beans and cheese, he says he looks forward to it.’