King’s Lynn annual Christmas meal now in its 66th year

At the Shallow Lunch are (from left) Marion Fisher, Borough mayor Barry Ayres and Bob Curtis. Pictur

At the Shallow Lunch are (from left) Marion Fisher, Borough mayor Barry Ayres and Bob Curtis. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

About 70 pensioners have again enjoyed an annual Christmas meal in King's Lynn, thanks to the generosity of a town benefactor after the second world war.

Alderman George Shallow, who died in 1945, left cash in trust to pay for an annual festive dinner for the needy in the town, which is called the Shallow lunch.

Nowadays, most of the people who attend the lunch, who must be from the area and of pensionable age, are not needy, and tend to come as much more for the social side of the occasion as for the meal.

The pensioners were joined at the town hall for the lunch on Monday by West Norfolk's Mayor Barry Ayres and his wife, Christine, the lady mayoress.

Keith Blythe, who has been organising the event for the Lynn General Charities Trustees for 13 years, said: 'This is our 66th event, and there are a lot of new guests here today - 19 in total. We are here because of the generosity of George Shallow, who created a charitable foundation to ensure that each year people could enjoy a Christmas meal in the town.'

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Among those enjoying the three-course meal was Marion Fisher, 70, from Terrington St Clement, who was present for the second time. She said: 'It's just a very nice event and it's such a beautiful building.'

Bob Curtis, 75, from St Peter's Road, West Lynn, was enjoying his third Shallow Lunch. He said: 'It's lovely.'

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Mr Ayres said: 'This is brilliant. It's a focus for elderly people at Christmas, and it's a honour for me to be to able to sit down and enjoy the meal with them.'

The meal was provided by the West Norfolk Flying chef and consisted of tomato and basil soup, chicken chasseur with seasonal vegetables, and sherry trifle dessert. It was followed by a performance of Christmas carols by pupils from the town's Greyfriars Primary School.

Are you holding a special Christmas dinner in the King's Lynn area? Email

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