Couple brighten Christmas Day for elderly neighbours in Ashill
For those with few relatives or friends, Christmas is a time with fewer things to look forward to.
But a couple are hoping to bring the magic back into the festive season with a Christmas lunch for lonely residents.
Come Christmas day, Richard Skeggs and his wife Sarah, from Ashill, will not be slaving away to prepare a glorious feast in their own kitchen.
Instead they will be hosting a Christmas lunch for 18 residents in a coal bunker-turned-community centre in the village, complete with turkey and all the trimmings, festive games and a Secret Santa for guests.
Mr Skeggs, 35, said: “As you get older, the magic of Christmas starts dwindling away. I am a naturally kind hearted person and I thought, how can I give something back and get enjoyment out of it.
“Where we live in Ashill there are quite a lot of elderly people. You see on the news about these people on their own at Christmas. I would hate to think of someone like my grandma sitting at home alone and it being just like a normal day.
“It is going to be a nice gathering, getting people to meet people they may not have met before. It is only a small village but there can be people you do not know.”
The tanker driver has even managed to secure sponsorship for his first event, with a work associate offering to cover all the costs and also donating 18 Christmas hampers.
He plans to hold another event next year and approach local businesses for sponsorship.
“I think it will be quite nice for it to be a more regular thing, and perhaps people will pick up on it in other villages.
“I am hoping if we do it again there will be more people. I hope it will be the beginning of something on a wider scale.”
Mr Skeggs and his wife, 39, used to be foster parents but he said Christmases were “starting to become a bit of a chore” without children around.
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