Spreading Christmas cheer

LONELY, homeless and needy people who would otherwise have spent Christmas on their own enjoyed a traditional festive lunch thanks to the kindness of generous volunteers.

LONELY, homeless and needy people who would otherwise have spent Christmas on their own enjoyed a traditional festive lunch thanks to the kindness of generous volunteers.

Turkey, mince pies and pudding were all on offer at St Benedict's Upper School, in Bury St Edmunds, while everyone who attended the event, organised by the Gatehouse charity, was even given a small gift from underneath the tree.

The lunch, held annually, was supported by hundreds of well-wishers, who donated food and money to ensure the event went with a swing.

Around 90 invited guests, along with volunteer drivers and cooks, sat down for the meal, yesterdaywhile Mayor of St Edmundsbury David Lockwood also dropped in.


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Joan Pawling, spokesman for the charity, was keen to thank everyone who made the event such a success – including volunteers who gave up their time and people who donated food and money.

"We invited homeless people, some families which are in need and elderly people who otherwise might be on their own at Christmas," she said. "We would like to thank everyone who supported the event, both in contributions and kind, who made it such a lovely day for lonely people.

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"We enjoyed the usual full Christmas meal, with mince pies, turkey and puddings, and everyone took a small gift home. It was a lovely atmosphere.

"Christmas is not a time to be by yourself, and our volunteers are magnificent to give up their time to share the day."

The charity also distributed 170 hampers to families across the region before Christmas to help needy people enjoy the festivities.

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