Volunteers show true Christmas spirit

CHRISTMAS cheer, a roast turkey dinner and a glass of sherry with friends transformed Christmas Day into a day of celebration for people who live alone - thanks to a Suffolk charity.

Jonathan Schofield

CHRISTMAS cheer, a roast turkey dinner and a glass of sherry with friends transformed Christmas Day into a day of celebration for people who live alone - thanks to a Suffolk charity.

More than 50 volunteers gave up their time on Christmas Day to cook, serve and ferry people from across West Suffolk to St Benedict's Upper School in Bury St Edmunds for a slap up dinner.

The Gatehouse charity held its 21st Christmas Day lunch at the school, attracting the largest number of dinner guests in the events history.

Gatehouse manager Amanda Bloomfield said there were so many people who lived alone and had no family to visit them which was made all the more poignant in the festive season.

She praised the team of volunteers who worked through Christmas Eve to prepare the food, the drivers who picked up people and brought them in, and the servers who worked so hard to make sure everyone got their food.

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Cecil Hamilton, 57, of Cockfield Road, supped a beer as he described the wonderful atmosphere and comradeship that had brought him back each Christmas for the past 14 years.

He said: “I've lived alone for a long time now and I can't thank these people enough for what they do.”

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