Cash boost for Marlborough's popular festive lunches

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Ian Smith, Janice Kingstone, Nigel Kerton, Jennifer Clarke, George Johnson and Roy Spring at the cheque presentation Ian Smith, Janice Kingstone, Nigel Kerton, Jennifer Clarke, George Johnson and Roy Spring at the cheque presentation

Christmas came early for the organisers of Marlborough’s Christmas Day Lunch when they were presented with a £1,500 cheque from Waitrose.

The money comes from the supermarket’s nationwide Isolation Christmas Campaign to raise funds for the elderly and vulnerable at Christmas and was presented to former Gazette reporter Nigel Kerton, who organises the annual festive feast with his wife Joy.

To make it a very merry Christmas indeed, the event has also been given £750 by Marlborough-based Event Exhibition and Design.

Mr Kerton said: “We’ve barely had to touch this cheque for this year’s Christmas dinner thanks to the generosity of local people and business so this money means that the Christmas Day lunch is assured for next year and can help towards future years.

“We will always need donations to keep it going so we are very grateful.

“Sumblers have provided us with cold meat for our elderly guests to take home for their evening tea and sausages and bacon and Quality Stationers in Hughenden Yard have given us calendars so every old person can take one home.”

This year the town hall event is celebrating its tenth year with a record 64 guests.

“We get huge amount of joy doing it,” said Mr Kerton. “On Christmas Day the town hall is the closest thing to Santa’s grotto in Marlborough.

“We have more helpers than ever. One lady is coming from as far as Stroud and is helping on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”

Because of high demand, Mr Kerton hopes other towns will set up their own events.

He said: “I plan to go to Devizes, Pewsey and Royal Wootton Basset and talk to councils, churches and groups to see if they could set up something and from there I’d like to see it spread across Wiltshire and even nationwide.

“Old people aren’t just lonely in Marlborough.”

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