Merton meals on wheels volunteer to receive honour
A dedicated volunteer, who has lived in the same Morden house for over 80 years, has dedicated his Royal gong to Merton’s hundreds of unsung communitarians.
Peter Steiner, the vice-president of charity Merton and Morden Guild, was named as a recipient of the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
Mr Steiner, 85, has lived in the same house in Maycross Avenue, Morden, since it was built in the 1930s, when he used to see sheep grazing in a field across the road.
He said: “In 1977 one of my elderly neighbours asked me if I could help supply the meals on wheels service.
“Most weekends my wife and I would get hold of a council van and dish out about 25 meals. We did that for until the service was privatised.
“For the next few years I drove a minibus to disabled people and took them to their club.
“But then our insurance company decided I was not a very good risk to be driving a minibus and I had to use my own car.”
The medal is the latest award for Mr Steiner, who was awarded a commemorative gold medal from Merton Council in 2002 and attended the Royal lunch in Mitcham attended by the Queen in May as part this year’s Diamond Jubilee tour.
He added: “I thought they must have made some mistake – me having lunch with the Queen.
“I am just one of many volunteers in this borough and they deserve recognition too, as well as the hundreds of neighbourhood watch co-ordinators who work to keep our streets safe.”
Mr Steiner said he wanted to create a commemorative shield to be annually awarded to the most hard-working neighbourhood watch coordinator and name it after the late Jack Sims, who died last year after serving as a Met police volunteer for over 20 years.
Other Merton residents who will receive the British Empire Medal this year are Rosemary Hickson, of Crescent Road, in west Wimbledon, for services to the community in Merton, and Philip Froomberg, a volunteer for SSAFA armed forces veterans in Wimbledon.
Merton Council's meals on wheels service is provided by French multinational catering company Sodexo, for residents unable to cook hot meals for themselves.