‘This is what Christmas should be about’ - Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth serves free, hot meals to those in need
- Credit: Nick Butcher
An army of volunteers ensured almost 300 people who would have otherwise spent Christmas alone were well-fed, warm and feeling festive.
Great Yarmouth's annual Open Christmas lunch, being at the Marina Centre on the Golden Mile today, has been hailed as one of the most successful yet.
Organisers said they had received more donations than ever before, meaning 300 people including older residents, families in need and the homeless could enjoy a traditional Turkey roast together.
Doors opened an hour early as there were people waiting outside, and festivities will go on until 5pm.
Open Christmas has been held in Yarmouth for 18 years. As well as a free hot meal, there is live music, games, a free jumble and a goodie bag of food for every person to take home.
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Joan Naylor, who has been on the organising committee for 14 years, said it would not be possible without the kindness of strangers. Community transport groups, including Centre 81 from Yarmouth and Boarder Hopper from Diss have driven people to and from the lunch, Bernard Matthews has donated 18 turkeys, local supermarkets gave fresh vegetables and members of the public provided the rest.
Dozens of volunteers will spend the day serving meals and giving up their own family Christmas to ensure others do not feel lonely.
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Angela Hainsworth, 53, of Hemsby, was volunteering for the first time.
'I know it sounds corny, but it's what Christmas should be about,' she said.
'I was fed up with the commercialisation of it all and I wanted to give something back.
'I'm going to see my family when I finish my shift, but I am really glad I've taken part. There's a great atmosphere. It's incredibly rewarding.'
To find out more about Open Christmas, which is completely free, visit www.openchristmasgreatyarmouth.org.