“THERE is no one else like her. She is an angel on Earth.”

Those were the words of homeless people enjoying the 20th annual Christmas dinner cooked by Icolyn ‘Ma’ Smith.

The grandmother of nine, of Kelburne Road, Cowley, has been cooking slap-up dinners for the city’s homeless and needy since 1990.

Mrs Smith, a member of the Littlemore Church of the God of Prophecy, said she pledged to help the homeless after walking along streets like Cowley Road and seeing those in need.

She said: “Love makes me do this. Somebody has got to love and help these people.

“I see them in the street and nobody cares for them, but I do. And I will carry on caring for them as long as God gives me the strength and good health to do it.”

Among the 70 people who turned up to the Asian Cultural Centre in Manzil Way on Wednesday to enjoy a hot meal of chicken and vegetable soup, roast turkey and beef, followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies, was James Lawson.

The 60-year-old, who was born and raised in East Oxford, remembers former carer Mrs Smith from when she used to look after his mother and father.

He said: “She is a wonderful, wonderful woman.

“She never missed a day.

“It’s great to come here and see people. It can be quite a lonely time of year.

“But having this lunch laid on really makes you feel like you’re wanted and people are there for you.”

A fellow diner who has been coming to the Christmas dinners for ‘more years than he can remember’ added: “There really is no one else like her. She is an angel on earth.”

Using food donated from the Oxford Food Bank, Mrs Smith cooks a roast dinner for the homeless every Wednesday, and was busy preparing the festive feast from 7am.

Aided by an army of volunteers she also decked out the hall with tablecloths, crackers and balloons and everyone got a goody bag full of donated gifts of tinned and packet food, as well as warm socks, gloves and scarves.

Victor Abbott, 43, sleeps on Oxford’s streets and has been to the Christmas lunches for the past two years.

He said: “Sister Smith is one of the best people you will ever meet. She doesn’t take any rubbish off anyone and she makes the best goat curry I’ve ever tasted.

“For some people this is the only hot meal they will eat all week. It means a lot to a lot of people.”