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Christmas spirit alive and well at Marlborough’s Christmas Day lunch

Mayor Lisa Farrell with George Johnston (92)Mayor Lisa Farrell with George Johnston (92)Forty two people sat down to Marlborough’s Christmas Day lunch in the Town Hall and a further thirteen who were unable to attend had meals delivered to them in their homes.  The Town Hall was filled to the brim with decorations, presents and an army of volunteers all dressed in festive garb to ensure plenty of Christmas spirit was spread around. 

There were more smiles and jokes when Mayor Lisa Farrell called in to wish everyone a Happy Christmas.

Mayor Lisa Farrell, Nigel Kerton and SylviaMayor Lisa Farrell, Nigel Kerton and Sylvia“It looks like the Ritz,”Nigel Kerton told marlborough.news as he looked around the hall and at the smiling faces of those present.  It was Nigel and his wife Joy, a chef, who started the Christmas Day lunch sixteen years ago after hearing that a Marlborough resident had been alone with a tin of salmon and a piece of bread on Christmas Day.

“It’s all about giving people a family Christmas when they haven’t got a family,” said Nigel.

Three generations of Nigel’s family now ensure that Marlborough’s Christmas Day lunch continues.  His daughter Claire Ellis and now his granddaughter Vicky has taken over the mammoth task of organising it and ensuring everything goes smoothly.

Vicky Ellis said, “I cannot get over the generosity of the people in the town and local businesses who have gone out of their way to give us food and drink and cash donations.”

Those present certainly appreciated all the efforts that had been made. George Johnson (92), who has lived in Marlborough all his life said, “My wife died in 2009 and I started to come to the lunch after that.  It’s a great idea and very sociable. No one should be on their own on Christmas Day.”

Sylvia, who has been coming to the lunch for sixteen years, first with her husband but now alone said, “I really enjoy it. It’s really lovely and the food is very delicious.”

Chef Mark Shire was cooking up a storm in the Town Hall kitchen. Tomato soup, turkey roast and Christmas pudding were on the menu. “We like to keep it traditional,” explained Vicky, “and one hundred percent I hope the lunch will continue for many years to come.”

Nigel told how he had been approached by other towns in Wiltshire and the Thames Valley for help and advice for setting up their own Christmas Day lunch event.

“If there was a Christmas Day lunch in every town and large village in the UK I would die a happy man.”

Claire Ellis and Vicky EllisClaire Ellis and Vicky EllisThe Pick family volunteers - Bob, Ali, Emma, Laura, son in law Will with George JohnstonThe Pick family volunteers - Bob, Ali, Emma, Laura, son in law Will with George JohnstonMark Shire, chef with volunteers in the kitchenMark Shire, chef with volunteers in the kitchenSome of the younger volunteers - Jacob (12), Elizabeth (9), Rosalie (7), Gabriel (4)Some of the younger volunteers - Jacob (12), Elizabeth (9), Rosalie (7), Gabriel (4)

 

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