Still space at Ottery’s community Christmas lunch

Betty Williams with Lamb and Flag landlord, Ron Miles, and Ottery mayor, Glyn Dobson. Ref sho 4475-5

Betty Williams with Lamb and Flag landlord, Ron Miles, and Ottery mayor, Glyn Dobson. Ref sho 4475-52-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Residents who would be alone at Christmas are coming together again in Ottery thanks to a tradition started by a generous West Hill widow.

Retired teacher and poet Betty Williams, 87, made headlines around the globe in 2014 when she invited dozens of strangers to keep each other company over a festive lunch.

The Lamb and Flag pub is hosting the festivities for the final time on Tuesday (December 20), as landlord Ron Miles is leaving, but he hopes an alternative venue can be found.

“The feeling at the meal is electric,” he said. “The previous years have been absolutely phenomenal. There are so many happy faces. It gives them a purpose to talk about the old times. To be a part of that is incredible.

“It was set up by Betty because she was going to be alone at Christmas. She wanted to buy Christmas lunch for everyone who would be in the same position.

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“Hopefully somebody else will pick it up for next year.”

Mayor Glyn Dobson said he is looking forward to the event and waiting on the diners again with other councillors.

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Doors to the free lunch, for 40 people from the Ottery parish, will open at 12.30pm for a 1pm start.

There are still some spaces available. Anyone interested in attending should call Phyllis Baxter on 07813 936742.

She is also keen to hear from anyone who can provide some musical accompaniment.

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