CHEF Dan Howe went out of his way to help customers during the lockdown – literally.

When he discovered one of his vulnerable self-isolating customers was out of bread he went off and bought a loaf, leaving it on the doorstep.

The owner of Dan’s Deli in Royal Wootton Bassett is the Adver’s first Trader of the Week.

He’s known for his huge range of scotch eggs, from the classic pork version, to a Spanish-style with chorizo, the Duke with beef and truffle and Nessie, with smoked salmon and baby capers. The menu includes the naga chilli Hell Hound that former mayor Steve Watts dared to tackle as part of a fundraiser.

Dan was keeping tabs on the coronavirus situation back in January. “From the beginning of February I was stopping people coming into the shop and serving them from the door.”

When the lockdown arrived and the shop closed he took his wares on the road, delivering orders all over the area, from Calne to Blunsdon. It meant getting in to work at about 5am to prepare and package them up.

In the first month the roads were virtually empty and he clocked up the miles. As more people discovered his business the number of deliveries rose. It was good for trade, but there was another hidden benefit for Dan.

He said: “It enabled me not to think about the situation because it was scary. The first three or four weeks I certainly didn’t want to dwell on it.”

At about 6am one morning he had the idea for a virtual cheese tasting. “I come up with a lot of random ideas,” he said.

He would deliver a selection of cheeses and nibbles to those who wanted to take part and then Facebook live a tasting session filmed by his wife Esra, giving his opinion. The first attracted 30 people, but it proved so popular that as the end of lockdown approached there were more than 100.

“With lockdown I think it made everybody realise there’s a lot more to it than money. I hope it carries on," he said. "People realise how much they miss interaction, just talking to somebody.”

One of the customers who nominated him, Pauline Diaper, said: “He works horrendous hours just to keep the customers, who I truly believe he thinks of as friends, happy. He seems to know so much about us all and will always ask how your family are- usually by name.

“He is honest and truthful about the cheeses and at times is very funny.”

Courtney Mores is a fan of the cheese tastings and felt they had given everyone a sense of community and belonging.

She said: “Dan and his wife have been fantastic and made me feel more like friends than a customer. They always try to do what they can for individuals’ needs.”

Gareth Mullen told the Adver Dan lost his vehicle at a crucial time after it was shunted from behind. Another local business loaned him one so he could carry on making his deliveries. “He’s gone out of his way to ensure that his regulars continue to get great service whilst also dealing with a growing band of new,” he said.

To nominate a local trader who has gone over and above for their customers fill in our easy online form.