Under new management: another brilliant Christmas Day lunch for the elderly
There were forty-three of Marlborough's older generations at the Christmas Day lunch in the Town Hall. It was the first year since Joy and Nigel Kerton had stepped back from organising this event - which has been copied by several Wiltshire towns.
Taking the reins this year is town councillor Lisa Farrell - with Mark Shire (first time chef for the event) and Vicky Ellis - who is the Kertons' granddaughter. They were ably assisted by a number of willing volunteers from St John's, Waitrose, the fire station, local police and many others.
Town councillors Alec Light and Justin Cook were the drivers and their role included one of this year's innovations - home deliveries. What one might call, if the weather had played the game and produced just a sprinkling of snow instead of so much rain, 'meals on sleighs'.
Transition or not, many of the volunteers have been regular helpers - like Justin Kimber and Emma Brown. Justin works at Marlborough's fire station - and was on call in case of over-cooked turkey fires - or worse.
Other innovations this year included the use of the Town Hall's big screen so the lunchers could watch the Queen's Speech - and a round or two of bingo.
As the guests were arriving a seasonally dressed family came in with baskets of food donated by Tesco and My Local - which all needed to be divided up into the very capacious goody bags.
Lisa Farrell told Marlborough News Online she has had terrific support: among donations by cheque was a large one from Event Exhibition and Design of Wagon Yard. Marlborough College donated most of the food and Andrews the Butchers donated the turkeys. She and Vicky have had a lot of help from the Jubilee Centre. And the Town Council gave free use of the Town Hall.
On top of all that there was money in the kitty - last January the Waitrose Community Matters green token scheme boosted the lunch's bank balance with a cheque for £1,000.
Prizes for the elderly lunchers will include one in memory of taxi-driver Ann Harley who had helped organise the town's Christmas lunches for ten years - up to her death in April 2014.
It has become one of the town's best traditions - and from the look on so many of the older faces, a thriving and very welcome one.
Meanwhile in the centre of Ramsbury a fine figure of a Father Christmas stands guard at The Bell...
...complete with sack.
The word on the street is that the mannequin was last seen dressed as Sir Winston Churchill...
...not quite the figure you would expect to find descending your chimney on Chritmas Eve - or, come to that,
any day of the year!