Meet the Milton Keynes woman who has used lockdown to write a charity cook book

    Long-term Age UK Milton Keynes volunteer Di Payne was one of many people who received a letter from the NHS in March telling her to stay at home and shield because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Di, who is not only a trustee but an active fundraiser for Age UK Milton Keynes, said her first thought was: "What on earth am I going to do to keep busy?".

    She says having access to a computer and a large list of contacts meant she knew she could do something to help raise funds for Age UK Milton Keynes.

    Di, who recently received recognition for her 35 years of volunteering, attended a trustees meeting where it was highlighted that the charity's finances had been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic as its shops had been forced to close and paid-for services were no longer able to operate.

    As a local, independent charity working only in the borough of Milton Keynes, Age UK Milton Keynes gets no central funding.  Di was determined to do something to help.

    With the support of friends, family and people she knew "all over the world", Di has put together a Lockdown Cookbook of 84 exquisite recipes.

    Each one has been tried and tested and appreciated over the years.

    "People tell me they love the little story that accompanies every recipe, with a brief explanation from the contributor of why it has been shared and what it means to them," says Di. 

    A soup recipe was shared by Tara and Carolyn who tell the same story.

    The only way they could persuade their husbands to go shopping was to promise them lunch at John Lewis in Milton Keynes, as then they could have their favourite treat of Moroccan Chicken Soup. 

    The chef was good enough to give them the recipe.

    Hilary has shared a recipe for the Blue Peter Chewy Cake that she copied down during the programme broadcast in March 1982 and she has been using ever since. 

    She has amended it slightly as she finds 5 oz of flour works better than 6 oz.

    Age UK Milton Keynes is grateful to Katie Jordan and Matt Storey of Storey Homes who have generously sponsored the printing of the Lockdown Cookbook.

    Their support has been essential and the project would never have happened without their valuable support.

    Di would also like to give a mention to Minuteman Press Milton Keynes who did an excellent job of printing the cookbooks during these difficult times.

    Copies of the Lockdown Cookbook at £5 each are available from The Peartree Centre and from Age UK Milton Keynes shops as and when they re-open.

    The charity can also post copies (£2.95 postage UK) which you can pay for by card over the telephone on 01908 550700 or 0752 351 2653. 

    Age UK Milton Keynes is a local independent charity supporting older people in Milton Keynes. 

    Although a lot of people are starting to return to a semblance of normality, the charity is continuing to run an Emergency Response Service delivering twice weekly meals and shopping for which it relies totally on donations from the public.

    Some services have started to resume so please call Age UK Milton Keynes on 01908 550700 for more information or visit www.ageukmiltonkeynes.org.uk.

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