Christmas angel needed to take over lunch for lonely in Ottery

PUBLISHED: 19:37 23 December 2016

Mayor Glyn Dobson presents flowers to Betty Williams who came to the council about the event in 2014.

Mayor Glyn Dobson presents flowers to Betty Williams who came to the council about the event in 2014.

Archant

A free lunch which brought lonely Ottery St Mary residents together at Christmas will end after three years.

The tradition was started by West Hill resident Betty Williams, 87, who made national headlines in 2014 with her generous idea to treat 40 strangers to lunch.

Donations were sent from across the world to keep the event funded for another two years.

On Tuesday, 40 residents sat down for Christmas lunch at the Lamb and Flag, where it was announced it would be the last.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: “Everybody enjoyed themselves and that’s what Christmas is all about.

Mayor Glyn Dobson (left) with councillors Ian Holmes and Josefina Gori and Ottery residents raise a glass at the Christmas lunch in the Lamb and Flag. Credit: Phyllis BaxterMayor Glyn Dobson (left) with councillors Ian Holmes and Josefina Gori and Ottery residents raise a glass at the Christmas lunch in the Lamb and Flag. Credit: Phyllis Baxter

“They have all had a good time.

“This will be the end. But, if someone came forward, we would do it using the same format because it’s been so successful.

“Betty started all this three years ago and we have had six meals.

“We’ve now come to the end of the pot and this is the last time.

“We will leave it up to the angels.”

He thanked Ron and Angie Miles, landlords of the Lamb and Flag, who have hosted the event for the past three years.

Ron said: “It’s nice to be able to put something back into the community and get the older members of the community together.”

Betty, a retired teacher and poet, said: “I think it would be great if someone could take it on.”

Ottery resident Grenville Gilbert said he supported events like the Christmas lunch that helped those who were alone or had ‘not had a good year’.

“It’s making sure that people are looked after,” he added.


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