A free festive dinner to bring lonely people together for Christmas in Greenock proved a huge success for the second year running.
Young mum Taylor Barnes has thanked the Inverclyde community for rallying round to help her organise the special dinner for 70 people at Gibshill Community Centre.
Once again, the 21-year-old was joined by a team of hard-working volunteers – including TV star Hardeep Singh Kohli who was the head chef on the day.
“We did the prep on Christmas Eve. Everybody got presents – this year I went to Boots and spent £10 per person.
“There was a three-for-two offer on so I got presents for families, gift sets for adults, a selection box and candy canes.
“Some families coming this year were quite stuck – that’s just the way life is.
“Last year there was a woman who said it was her first Christmas in 25 years. It was so emotional seeing her joy on the day. I bumped into her in town in November and she said how much she was looking forward to it, but sadly she passed away.”
Guests ranged in age from a one-year-old tot to a senior citizen of 82. The majority of diners were elderly people, many of whom were widowed.
They enjoyed a three-course meal of lentil soup and crusty bread, followed by steak pie with roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts and gravy while Christmas cake and homemade ice-cream were also served up.
After the meal, everyone got on the dancefloor for a disco, and entertainment was provided by talented singers who belted out Christmas songs.
Taylor’s two-year-old daughter Harper was too young last year to realise the magic that her mum was bringing to lonely people in the community.
But this year Taylor, who is pregnant with her second child, sat her down and told her about their special day.
“I was really looking forward to it this year. The first time, I didn’t know how it was going to go.
“I think every town needs something like this, I can see the difference it makes.”
Taylor is keen to thank everyone who helped make it such a special day, especially all the volunteers and local businesses who supported the event plus Greenock singer-songwriter Anthony McElwee and vocalist and songwriter Jud Harron who both performed.
This article and images appeared in the Greenock Telegraph on 29 December 2018.