AMONG the panic and unease sweeping the community in the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, a mysterious benefactor has taken it upon himself to to raise spirits in one small village,

An anonymous well-wisher in Denchworth has offered to pay for each of the 171 villagers to enjoy fish and chips – normally £5 per head – every Friday evening for the next three months.

The benefactor will subsidise his local pub, The Fox in Hyde Road, and its landlord Stephen Davidson to cook meals for all villagers while the country remains under a government-forced lockdown.

The generous gesture was applauded by many locals including Mr Davidson, who was forced to shut down his 17th century pub on Friday after the Prime Minister announced strict measures to curb the increasing number of infections recorded.

While the new government restrictions have forced closure on the hospitality industry, pubs, restaurants and cafes can still do takeaways and deliveries, with many businesses across Oxfordshire taking the opportunity to get rid of their food supplies.

Mr Davidson said he had been making takeaway soup for elderly and vulnerable neighbours over the weekend and is now considering cooking Sunday roasts.

He explained: “I had ordered a lot of produce for Mothers Day as we had more than 60 bookings in the diary.

“He is really concerned about people in the village, so he wants to help in any way he can.

“We had to shut the doors that Friday and I had a lot of groceries that were going to go to waste.

“Food is scarce at the moment and I had access to supplies, so I had to do it.”

The publican revealed that he will not be making a huge profit from the weekly meals he will be cooking for residents.

He said he was going ahead because of his love for the village, saying: “It is part of my life”.

Mr Davidson explained he was approached by the “very wealthy in-betweener” who spends his time in both London and Denchworth, on Sunday morning.

He added: “The pub is an important part of the village – we opened it back in 2000 – and it is the local ‘boozer’ for this man.

“It will be a good thing for the locals, especially for the elderly who are stuck indoors.”

Mr Davidson is still in talks with the village benefactor about the funding, menu and deliveries, but he promised a hot, tasty plate of fish and chips for everybody.

Next week’s meal, he predicts, will be something simple like a roast dinner or a curry, however, he is still working out how to accommodate meat eaters and vegetarians at the same time.

The publican said: “We are fortunate to have the community behind us, so the pub will weather the storm.

“I have faith in the Government and I know they are introducing a lot of grants.

“We are all in the same boat with this virus, so this is easing my mind.”

The Fox pub is a tenanted Green King pub.