This year, more than ever, helping the needy or supporting the lonely and, even more, bringing the Ottery community together is paramount.

Hence, once again, the team that organised this act of kindness in previous years got together and is ready to provide many in the Ottery parish with a free Christmas dinner.

Started by the late West Hill resident Betty Williams in 2014, Betty William's Lunch for those Lonely at Christmas was held very close to Phyllis's heart and until she died in 2018, from Phyllis’s Rumour Control Room, aka Ottery Tourist Information Office, emails, phone calls, spreading the word, designing posters and invitations, contacting volunteers, discussing menus and much more, went on for weeks and didn't stop until Phyllis was sure no one had been forgotten and that everything would be in place to offer those attending a day to remember.

After Betty Williams' death, an anonymous donor came forward in January 2017 and offered to pay for the event in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2020, the lunch could not take place at a local pub due to Corona Virus regulations existing at the time. Still, thanks to the generous offer made by the Otter Garden Centres to Glyn Dobson and his wife Gay, who had organised the dinners from the beginning, and to a group of volunteers who offered to deliver a free Christmas dinner prepared by the Garden Centres' restaurant staff, everyone who submitted their names in 2021 and 2022, received a delicious hot Christmas dinner specially delivered to their home.

This year, again, Otter Garden Centres will prepare a free Christmas dinner for any elderly resident or couple being alone on Christmas Day. This offer is not limited to Ottery residents but the surrounding villages.

A group of volunteers, coordinated by Glyn and Gay Dobson and the Ottery Help Scheme will drive to Otter Garden Centres on Christmas Day and deliver the meals to all who had put their name down and were looking forward to a hot meal in their own home skilfully prepared by the chefs of the Garden Centres.

Glyn and Gay would like to thank Otter Garden Centres for their generous offer, the Ottery Help Scheme and the volunteers who have already come forward offering to deliver the meals.

If you would like your name added to the list or would like to recommend someone who you feel would benefit from this generous offer, please contact: Glyn Dobson at 01404 813403 or the Ottery help Scheme at 01404 813041