'˜Great fun' at free lunches in Shoreham and Lancing for people alone on Christmas Day
A free Christmas Day meal was enjoyed by more than 110 people who would otherwise have spent the day alone.
The Christmas lunches, which were aimed at elderly people, single parents or anyone keen for some company, took place at the Shoreham Centre in Pond Road, Shoreham, and the Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Upper Boundstone Lane, Lancing, last Tuesday.
Organiser Janice Roberts said: “This was a very special day for so many people, guest and volunteers.
“Christmas day at both venues went really well, everyone went home very happy with full tummies, Christmas presents and a lovely smile on their face.”
A total of 75 lunches were provided in Shoreham, cooked by Sarah Brierly who owns Auntie Sarah’s Sandwich Shop in High Street and managed by Kyra Berry.
It was the third time the Christmas Day event has been held in the town and spaces for guests and volunteers were booked up by mid-December.
As well as the full Christmas meal with all the trimmings, guests enjoyed entertainment from ukulele player Theresa Cary and sang carols and songs from the 50s and 60s, with everyone joining in singing and clapping.
A free raffle was also provided for guests by the Shoreham Brownies and Rainbows.
In Lancing, where the event was held for the first time, 40 lunches were provided – cooked by Cheryl Bailey, catering manager at the school, with Janice managing the event.
One lunch was also dropped off for a disabled man who was unable to reach the venue.
Music entertainment was provided by students from the Sir Robert Woodard Academy.
The hard work of planning the events began in September, with organisers searching for volunteers and donations to make the days a success.
People volunteered to help wrap presents, prepare vegetables and decorate the venues on Christmas Eve while many people also helped out on Christmas Day.
Janice said: “It was busy, but great fun getting to know each other.”
Many volunteers also helped out on Christmas Day.
Janice said: “We couldn’t have provided the Christmas lunches to both venues without the support of so many people and organisations.
“We would like to thank the local people across Adur who provided all the tree gifts for our guests, decorations, mince pies, crackers, chocolates, wine, soft drinks and so much more.
“Your generosity has been amazing, a real sense of community helping for others.”
Janice thanked all the businesses who provided the bulk of the food for both venues free of charge. They were:
Bidfood, Loxely Food Service, Brake Bros, Shannnon’s Butchers, GA Brown Green Grocers, Fox Green Grocers in Southwick, the Co-op in Lancing and Shoreham and Sainsbury’s Hove.
Other thanks go to Sir Robert Woodard Academy, for the use of their building and kitchen and the Shoreham Community Trust for the Shoreham Centre use.
Marks and Spencer provided tablecloths and napkins, Harris and Hoole gave tree gifts, McEwan Ceilings provided mince pies and crackers for both venues and Lloyds Bank – South Coast gave 100 boxes of after eight mints.