MANY people have gone the extra mile in helping deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the case of Malcolm Thomas and his van, that has quite literally been the case.

Mr Thomas, 68, a grandfather with two grown-up children, lives near Thame and is a driver for the county council’s library service.

Read also: Latest court results for Oxfordshire

He has worked for the council since December 2015 when he became semi-retired.

Before that, Mr Thomas was a production manager for a printer cartridge recycling firm in Berkshire.

Before the coronavirus emergency struck in March, Mr Thomas’s work involved driving his van between nine of the libraries in Oxford collecting and delivering books and other materials, so he was already serving the community.

When lockdown happened and libraries had to close, he volunteered to make deliveries and collections for critical services as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) to help stop the spread of the virus.

Banbury Cake:

Oxfordshire County Council at the Westgate Centre was closed at the start of lockdown.

The council has said his PPE deliveries make a real difference, allowing front-line workers at the council to keep serving communities across the county in a time of critical need, helping to keep council workers safe and reduce the risk of transmission to others.

Mr Thomas said: “I normally work 25 hours a week but during lockdown my hours varied. I regularly worked Wednesday and Thursday and on other days worked as required depending on what I am asked to do amid the current need. My first call is to collect the council van from Holton (near Wheatley).”

Read also: BBC in court after twice naming teenage Oxford murder suspects on live TV

Most of the PPE deliveries have been to central locations known as community service centres where they are then distributed on to staff who need the items.

When making collections or deliveries, Mr Thomas said he had been mindful to take virus precautions.

He said: “I make safe deliveries by first ringing the door, placing the items by the doorstep before moving at least two metres further away to let the person know their goods are delivered.

“Other steps I have to keep safe are gloves, a mask and sanitising spray which I use for the van.”

Another vital task he has performed during the pandemic is to help support the workforce of the council staff as they work from home.

Read also: Thieves 'took a poo' at nursery before stealing toys

With many staff working from home, Mr Thomas ‘plays a vital role’ by delivering and collecting IT equipment.

The council said he had enabled countless staff to keep up their support of services by making sure they have the laptops, phones and other equipment to continue their duties at a time of critical need.

The authority said: “From Caversham in the south to the edge of Banbury in the north of Oxfordshire, Malcolm has selflessly covered miles to keep our services running.”

Mr Thomas has even helped the council to register deaths by collecting paperwork from registrars’ homes across the county and delivering it to Oxford Register Office.

Ian Pike, one of the registration staff said: “Malcolm was the mainstay of making this all work. He was punctual and always a cheery smile and hello.”