NIGEL Clough and Liam Boyce have paid a visit to a Burton Church to see preparations for providing up to 80 homeless, lonely and vulnerable people a Christmas Day meal.
The festive meal has become a tradition at All Saints on Branston Road and each year Burton Albion Football Club and its suppliers help to provide all the food needed for a full traditional Christmas dinner.
The Burton Albion manager said: “It looks a lot of food, but I know it has to go far. It’s great for the community and we are delighted as always to be involved. These people volunteer all-year round but to give up their Christmas Day to help others is incredible.”
The food was delivered to the church today by Burton Albion Community Trust.
Head of Community Matt Hancock said: “It’s a great gesture from the football club and all the other people involved and it’s quite humbling when you come here and appreciate the effort that goes in and how many people will benefit. If we can help make Christmas a little bit better for as many people as possible, we will always want to help and that’s what makes Burton Albion should a good community club.”
Joy Jackson and her husband Keith are among the volunteers from the church who make it all possible.
Joy said: “Keith has done the cooking now for 11 years and will be again. He starts cooking the turkeys on Christmas Eve. He’s here for the midnight service putting them on and then will be back at 8am in the morning when the early volunteers come in and begin peeling.
“We get a lot of people now and it has become a great tradition, but Keith says that if there was only one person who needed it, he would still do it.
“Most of the guests who come have nowhere else to go, they are on their own and aren’t very happy. We have so many volunteers now that one of the jobs is befriending and that has made such a difference, because now they all have someone to chat to. A lot of the volunteers are also on their own or want to give up their time and do this on Christmas Day, so it really works.
“It is utter chaos on the day. We plan so much but it never goes to plan - but it always works out.”
Joy would like to thank Burton Albion and the club’s suppliers, Booker Wholesale, Burton Albion Community Trust, Helen’s Bakehouse, Lifestyle Accountancy, Ahmadiyya Muslim Foundation, Mercury Van Hire, Murray's Funeral Directors and all the individual donors and sponsors
Brian Davies from Booker said: “We are always delighted to help, it’s one of the highlights of the year for us to be able to give something back.
“It’s an amazing thing they do. We all take things for granted and to be able to help people less fortunate than us at Christmas is brilliant.”
Joy says: “There are a lot of people involved and it’s also brilliant that because it’s a community thing we have the Muslim community involved as well. This really does bring everyone together.”
If anyone is on their own or knows someone who is homeless, they can call 0779 276 5642 and book them a place at the meal on Christmas Day – lunch is due to be served at noon-12.30pm. The church prefers to know people are coming but they can turn up on the day if necessary.