Emma takes over Sidmouth’s Christmas Day community lunch

Emma Donovan has taken over Sidmouth's Christmas Day community lunch

Emma Donovan has taken over Sidmouth's Christmas Day community lunch - Credit: Archant

It may be nine months away, but the new organiser of Sidmouth’s Christmas Day community lunch is already getting planning.

After starting it six years ago, Angie and Mick Carney called for someone to take over the reins in uniting some 70 people who would otherwise be alone on December 25.

Emma Donovan has stepped up and she is also planning a get-together this summer to thank the event’s founders and everyone who has volunteered or donated food or gifts over the years. Emma said: “I’m 37, single and have no children. All my family are older than me. There’s a potential that I will have to spend Christmas Day alone one day. While I can, I want to help people – in the hope someone will help me when I need it.

“Angie and Mick started the meal between them and it’s grown from there. They have put so much into this event. They’re going to be missed.

“This is a great event and we need to keep doing it.”

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Emma is keeping a promise to help with the Christmas lunch she first made when she moved to Sidmouth in 2014. Other commitments got in the way every year since, but now she is self-employed as a solutions manager and free to set her own hours.

The former Rotarian is well-versed in organising events on tight budgets and after running a pub, she is no stranger to working on Christmas Day.

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And she won’t be alone – joining the team of regular volunteers are members of Emma’s family, including her 92-year-old grandmother, Brenda, who will be handing out gifts.

Mick and Angie, jointly named Sidmouth’s Citizen of the Year in 2015, appealed for a replacement after last year’s lunch so they can spend this Christmas with their first grandchild.

Angie said: “We’re absolutely delighted Emma has stepped forward. She has a lot of really relevant experience, fresh ideas and a lot of heart for the community.

“Her family coming on board is a real benefit – I think you need that support.”

The summer get-together will be a pot luck lunch, so everyone is asked to take food along. It will begin at midday on June 17 but the venue is yet to be decided.

Anyone interested in attending the summer celebration or dining or volunteering at the Christmas Day lunch can contact Emma on 01395 892392 or email sidmouthcommunitychristmas@gmail.com.

She is particularly seeking qualified minibus drivers to help with travel arrangements.

The Christmas Day lunch is open to all ages.

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