Horncastle’s Christmas Day Lunch hailed a great success

The Rev Samantha Parsons (centre) with  Anne and Jonnie Duncan, two of the Christmas Lunch volunteers EMN-181227-153510001
The Rev Samantha Parsons (centre) with Anne and Jonnie Duncan, two of the Christmas Lunch volunteers EMN-181227-153510001

A woman who had spent Christmas alone for 60 years was just one of more than 40 people who attended Horncastle’s Community Christmas Lunch.

The Rev Samantha Parsons, a leading member of the organising committee, described the event as a ‘huge success.’

Luca, Casey and Carmel Burke who were among the volunteers at the lunch EMN-181227-153452001

Luca, Casey and Carmel Burke who were among the volunteers at the lunch EMN-181227-153452001

Set up two years ago to help combat loneliness on Christmas Day,the lunch was held at the town’s Community Centre.

Rev Parsons said: “I would like to thank the committee who worked so hard behind the scenes to enable the lunch to happen and all the wonderful volunteers who helped on Christmas Eve with the preparations and on Christmas Day with the cooking, serving and washing up.

“We all had a great time and loved sharing our Christmas with all the guests who attended.

“I would also like to say a huge thank you to all the businesses and community organisations who gave so generously to support this community venture.

A member of staff at the Laurels Service Station with donations for the lunch EMN-181227-153809001

A member of staff at the Laurels Service Station with donations for the lunch EMN-181227-153809001

“It truly was an event ‘by the community, for the community’ and it brought much joy to many people.”

Around 50 guests reserved places but due to illness, only 44 were there.

Rev Parsons added: “We had 15 amazing volunteers including three children (Luca, Casey and Carmel Burke) who brought much joy as they chatted to guests and gave out the Christmas gifts and raffle prizes.”

Mary Taylor produced a delicious traditional Christmas lunch with many guests sending their compliments.

Cheers - guests at the lunch held at the Community Centre EMN-181227-154207001

Cheers - guests at the lunch held at the Community Centre EMN-181227-154207001

The Rev Parsons said: “We are really grateful to Papworth butchers in Conningsby for donating the turkey, Graham Fidling for donating the pigs in blankets and Tesco and Lincolnshire Co-op for donating the vegetables and Christmas puddings.”

Tables were beautifully decorated with stunning arrangements donated by Rosedale House Florist and every guest was given a small bottle of wine donated by the Horncastle Lions.

After the meal, there was tea and coffee with homemade chocolate truffles produced by Sue Fitch and mini mince pies donated by the Laurels Service Station.

Each guest received a Christmas stocking filled with gifts donated by AgeUK Lindsey, the Laurels Service Station and various members of the community.

Another table of guests EMN-181227-154151001

Another table of guests EMN-181227-154151001

Guests were given a slice of Christmas cake - made and donated by St Andrew’s Church in Fulletby. This was followed by a free raffle with gifts generously donated and made by different members of the community.

The meal was free but guests donated £292, half of which will go to ECHO and the remainder to next year’s lunch.

One lady said she had spent the last 60 years on her own at Christmas and has so enjoyed and appreciated spending the last two years sharing Christmas with others through the Christmas lunch.

One card thanked all the volunteers for ‘the delicious meal and great selection of gifts’ and recognised that ‘the work and organisation must have taken a lot of time and effort.’

They said the Christmas lunch had ‘made their day’ and that of many others and that it had been a great event.

Another card thanked all the volunteers ‘for organising such a wonderful event for people like myself who are on their own on Christmas Day.’

They went on to write: ‘I hope you will do the same next year’ and then made a very generous donation.