Scores catered for at Christmas dinner

Preparation work for the Xmas dinner which Gatehouse charity prepares and serves to people who are alone at Xmas'from Left sarah Rankin, mandy Bloomfield, Alana Hart, Fran Hart

Preparation work for the Xmas dinner which Gatehouse charity prepares and serves to people who are alone at Xmas'from Left sarah Rankin, mandy Bloomfield, Alana Hart, Fran Hart

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A charity ensured scores of people were not lonely this Christmas after hosting its annual festive lunch.

Bosses at Gatehouse were expecting 70 to 80 people to descend on St Benedict’s Catholic School, in Bury St Edmunds, to tuck into a three course dinner with all the trimmings on Christmas Day.

In its 24th year, the event is open to anyone who is on their own this yuletide season.

Chief executive Amanda Bloomfield said: “The idea was that we didn’t want anyone to be on their own. There are a lot of people who can’t afford a cooked meal on Christmas Day.

“ It’s very popular and we’re always looking for more people to come. We’ve a lot of families who come down in advance and prepare all the vegetables and lay the tables.”

Between 20 to 30 volunteers ran the day and the chef was Jim Herrington, who has cooked the meals for the last 10 years.

Individuals and businesses donated the food and diners, who were transported to and from the event by volunteers, left with a gift and a slice of Christmas cake.

Mrs Bloomfield added: “For the volunteers it’s a lovely and happy atmosphere.

“For those who come along it helps them on a day that isn’t particularly pleasant for them and enjoy company with other people.”