Community celebrates festive lunch milestone

Oxford Mail: All ready for the Christmas Day Lunch are, from left, Cllr Dorian Hancock, the Rev Margreet Armistead, Jamie Allport, principal Jackie Ranger, chef James Kumar, Sue Allport and Tom Bower Buy this photo » All ready for the Christmas Day Lunch are, from left, Cllr Dorian Hancock, the Rev Margreet Armistead, Jamie Allport, principal Jackie Ranger, chef James Kumar, Sue Allport and Tom Bower

IT brings the community together every year for a festive celebration.

Now the Littlemore Christmas Day Lunch, which can attract about 60 people, including families, is 10 years old.

The meal and party is being held at John Henry Newman Academy in Grange Road.

Rev Margreet Armitstead, of St Mary and St Nicholas Church, who organises the lunch with a team of volunteers, said: “It is something that is organised by the community for the community — that is the idea behind it.

“It is all working together to put on a party.

“It is for the community — anybody in the community who would like to be with other people at a fantastic Christmas party.”

She added: “Last year was a good year, we had 60 people and we had 50 in the first year.

“The numbers haven’t hugely changed, but it is gradually going up.

“We get more and more helpers every year.”

Volunteer Tom Bower, a teacher who lives in Littlemore, calls the bingo on the day.

The 57-year-old said: “It is just such a great community event. You get all sorts of people there.

“You never know who you could be sitting next to.

“It is great for families and if you are on your own as well.

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“Our church is very much about reaching out to the community and I think it does that.

Grandfather-of-two James Kumar, from Sandford-on-Thames, has been the chef on the day for at least eight years.

He said: “I got involved because it is a worthy cause.

“On the day it is very festive – Margreet and volunteers are at the front of house.

“They make it really special. I think it is brilliant.”

He added: “On the day everyone works together, all the volunteers. It just makes you stand back and think, ‘that is fantastic’.”

Littlemore parish councillor and volunteer Dorian Hancock said: “A lot of people put in an awful lot of effort from about September.

“The idea is that everybody has a good meal.

“Over the years it started mainly for the older people who were on their own and it has grown to be a family event.”

The George pub in Littlemore has provided most of the funding to support this year’s lunch, which runs from 1pm until 4pm.

The suggested donation is £2.50 per adult or £1.50 per child and there is a vegetarian option available.

People should sign up by calling Caroline Gale on 01235 200011.

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