It is not too late to join in so you are not lonely in Norfolk and Waveney on Christmas Day

Christmas lunch organisers. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Christmas lunch organisers. Photo: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Community spirit is alive and kicking with over 30 organisations and charities across Norfolk spreading some Christmas cheer this year.

Christmas lunch organisers. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Christmas lunch organisers. Photo: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

People who find themselves alone or in need of some company can visit one of the many free Christmas Day lunch events taking place across the county.

At a time of year when people are traditionally with family and friends, welcoming people to share and celebrate this special day with others is a great way to help people who may feel lonely.

The Salvation Army are hosting their usual free Christmas lunches for all ages at a number of venues this year, including Norwich, Beccles, Lowestoft and Dereham.

Open Christmas Norwich and Great Yarmouth will be welcoming the community to their traditional Christmas lunch.

Christmas lunch organisers. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Christmas lunch organisers. Photo: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

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David Minister, chairman of Open Christmas Great Yarmouth said: 'We don't want to see people have a Christmas day alone. Guests can expect, entertainment, a raffle, bingo, Christmas dinner and good company.

'There is no need to book, guests can just turn up anytime from 11am unless they need transport. The day is open to anyone on their own, homeless or struggling to make ends meet.'

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For arranged transport call David on 07928927053.

It's not just community groups and organisations hosting events, Chris Evans and his wife Laura moved to King's Lynn a few years ago and felt a strong desire to share Christmas Day with people who would otherwise be alone.

Chris said: 'The event is funded by friends and King's Lynn Baptist Church were brilliant and offered us their facilities. Guests are a very mixed bunch and everyone should feel welcome, very welcome.'

Due to building works, this year's event is the Scout Hut in South Lynn. Doors open at 12.30pm with lunch at 1pm.

After lunch there will be games, films and tea and chat for a couple of hours. For catering purposes, please contact Chris on 0788 4134245.

Organiser of the Christmas Day Café in Brooke, Lesley Hanner, explained why she wanted to provide an event for people to gather on this special day.

She said: 'We decided to host our first Christmas Day café in Brooke Village Hall last year. The previous Christmas we helped at the big Open Christmas in St Andrew's Hall in Norwich and it struck us that the volunteers all had their own reasons for being there – maybe their partner works, or its mother-in-law's turn to have the family this year, or the children are going to spend the time with an estranged partner.

'And sometimes Christmas Day isn't special but just a day when nothing is open, especially all the places that fill the day for people who live on their own – the walk to get the paper, the cup of coffee at the supermarket.

'So we wanted to just be there and be open for anyone who wanted to call in for a cuppa and a chat. We had tea, coffee, mulled wine, sausage rolls, mince pies, and those chunky chocolate biscuits.

'We set up the table tennis table and the table football and had table top quizzes and games. Competition was lively in some areas – unfortunately, my son will not be here this year to revisit the Table Tennis Challenge.

'And everyone who came had a lovely time. My family and friends helped host, together with other people from the village who came forward when they heard about it.

'We didn't have official funding but people from the village, and further afield, were very generous with donations of food, milk and cash. We even decorated the hall with decorations donated by my work colleagues at the UEA and another lady donated table top games like Connect 4 and Battleships.

'The very positive feedback we had was very encouraging and we hope that this year we see even more people. If anyone would like to come but feels unable to get there please ring me on 01508 550666 and we can arrange for someone to contact you to arrange transport.

'The village hall is very accessible and we have the play park outside on the playing field so children can burn off some energy before they come in.

'So, if you know anyone who might like to get out for a while on Christmas Day why not arrange to meet them at Brooke village Hall anytime between 12 and 4pm.'

Information can be found on Norfolk County Council's website

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