TIDINGS of comfort and joy were on offer in Chipping Sodbury on Monday (November 23) for the second ever Big Christmas Lunch.

Elderly and frail residents of the town and further afield were invited to a festive lunch in the Old Grammar School Rooms, organised by the Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch committee and aimed at people who are unable to get out of their own homes regularly particularly during the winter months.

“This year we were helped by Green Community Travel in Yate, who we hired a bus from and their volunteer driver collected most of our guests,” said Alexandra Womack, chairman of Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch.

“That made the difference for many people who would not have been able to come without transport. It cost very little but was so important and we are very grateful to the community travel scheme for all their help.”

She added: “It was a lovely atmosphere at this year’s Christmas lunch with plenty of festive food and good cheer, thanks to the small army of volunteers who helped on the day including many Chipping Sodbury mums, Big Lunch committee members and others who just heard about the event and wanted to lend a hand.

“We also received offers of help from businesses throughout the town including The Squire Inn which cooked the turkey. This was a real community effort and we hope our little event has gone some way in making this Christmas special for some lonely and isolated members of our community.”

As well as enjoying a roast turkey dinner, the 30 guests were serenaded with Christmas carols by Raysfield Infants School choir and had a special visit from Father Christmas, better known as town mayor Cllr Paddy Smith, who handed out edible gifts made by local cookery school teacher Ann Murray.

There was also a raffle of prizes donated by local company Chipping Sodbury Motor Company as well as individuals.

The event was completely free for all guests and was funded by donations from Bluebird Care and Waitrose’s Community Matters scheme.

Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch’s main event takes place on Sunday, June 5 2016. For further details search Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch on Facebook.