Hundreds of people spent Christmas Day surrounded by friendly faces at an event deigned to give a boost to those in need or who are living on their own or do not have a roof over their heads.

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The annual Open Christmas Great Yarmouth event at the Marina Centre saw about 200 people given a free meal with all the trimmings and enjoy a whole host of fun activities.

As well as enjoying tasty turkey and pulling crackers at their tables, the people in the Retro Skate part of the Marina Centre got in the festive mood by dancing, singing and taking part in bingo.

And at the end everyone who attended the event, which is now in its 18th year, was given a free goody bag stuffed with food and could pick up clothes ,toys and cosmetics from a free jumble.

The success of the event in spreading seasonal joy was down to the army of about 100 volunteers who had given up their free time to ensure others would have a Christmas to remember.

And the event showed how the local community and businesses also had strong community spirt by providing food and donating gifts, such as Bernard Matthews, Asda, market traders and a woman who turned up with 200 cupcakes.

Open Christmas Great Yarmouth is run by a five-strong committee which co-ordinated the 100 volunteers, some of who would also be alone at Christmas.

Joan Naylor, who has been on the committee for 13 years, said: “It was a wonderful day and we had so many nice comments. Some people who had never been before said they would definitely be coming back next year.”

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