Christmas Day feast for poverty-stricken and lonely in Hartlepool – and you can help

Rob Swan ahead of this years Christmas Day soup kitchen
Rob Swan ahead of this years Christmas Day soup kitchen

A CHRISTMAS Day feast for the poverty-stricken or lonely is being held in Hartlepool.

And as well as appealing for diners to eat the Yuletide grub and all the trimmings, organisers are hoping for donations and also loan of a minibus with wheelchair access to help any disabled people get to and from the free event.

Rob Swan a-head of this years Christmas Day soup kitchen

Rob Swan a-head of this years Christmas Day soup kitchen

The Christmas Day dinner has been running for several years from a secret town centre location and fills up the tummies of the hungry with a four-course meal of soup, roast turkey dinner, Christmas pud, and then coffee.

There will be enough to feed around 80 people in the December 25 sitting at 12.30pm.

Rob Swan, 52, a joiner of Milbank Road, Hartlepool, who has organised the event for the last six years, said: “It’s a regular thing, it happens every year.

“We cater for anybody who either can’t afford to feed themselves or who doesn’t want to be on their own at Christmas.

“We provide transport if people need it, including wheelchairs.

“It’s a full four-course meal and a full-blown Christmas dinner, and we also help people get to and from the meal if they require transport.”

The dad-of-one, who is married to Jacqeline Swan, 52, said: “The atmosphere is incredibly warm and welcoming and it’s a really happy, family atmosphere.

“Quite a lot of the volunteers are regulars who come to help every year. It’s a beautiful, relaxed and comfortable, friendly atmosphere.

“We have music playing and it’s just brilliant.

“I took over in 2009 after an article in the Mail appealing for someone to organise it, and I love it. I want to make sure it goes on until someone else wants to take over and do it.

“I can’t imagine Christmas without it now.”

There is also a church service in Grange Road Methodist Church at 11am on Christmas Day, and Rob says transport can be organised to get diners there before the meal if they so wish.

Anyone who would like a meal, or who can volunteer on the day, or who can loan out a minibus should telephone Rob on (01429) 262641.