Sidmouth Christmas community lunch saved, but volunteers are desperately needed

Andie Milne and Charly Rhodes. Picture: Sid Valley Food Bank

Andie Milne and Charly Rhodes. Picture: Sid Valley Food Bank - Credit: Archant

Two Sidmouth mothers have stepped in to save a Christmas lunch for people facing the festive season on their own.

The town’s annual Christmas Day community lunch is held for residents who would otherwise spend December 25 without seeing anyone.

Last year more than 80 residents attended the lunch where 50kg of vegetables were prepared along with 10 Christmas puddings, 10 Christmas cakes and 100 mince pies. Guests were transported to the event and enjoyed a meal with all the trimmings, as well as musical entertainment, before watching the Queen’s Speech

Angie Carney, who started the tradition in 2011 with her husband, gave up the reins two years ago, to spend more time with her family.

And, when she heard that the event could cease to exists if a co-ordinator didn’t come forward, this year, she contacted single mum Andie Milne,who is the co-ordinator of the Sid Valley Food Bank.

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Andie will be stepping up to the plate and joining forces with fellow Sidmouth resident Charly Rhodes. It has now been confirmed that the lunch will take place at St Teresa’s Hall in Sidmouth from 1pm.

Andie said: “The lunch is for those people who would otherwise be isolated and unable to enjoy a home cooked Christmas lunch.

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“Charly Rhodes, a single mum from Sidmouth, saw that this event wasn’t likely to take place and was motivated to inspire awareness of this situation.”

Charly contacted Angie and a small group was established to try to find enough people to ensure Christmas would not be cancelled for those residents that would otherwise be alone. This is when Andie was contacted and agreed to help organise the community event with Charly’s support.

Andie has now issued a desperate plea for volunteers to come forward as soon as possible, because of time constraints and the late notice she’s had. The pair have appealed for people to come forward and help make it happen. People are needed to help coordinate invites, to help with finances and to be a secretary. Hands will also be needed to help on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

They are also in need of donations and transport. Anyone who is interested in helping out can visit Andie and Charly on Tuesday, at Coffee#1, Fore Street, between 5pm and 6pm. Alternatively contact can be made by emailing sidmouth or via the Sidmouth Community Christmas Lunch Facebook.

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