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Indie Christmas Dinner Appeal in aid of Welbeloved Club: Help us give 120 socially isolated senior citizens in Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth a festive meal to savour





For the sixth year in a row, the Bishop’s Stortford Independent is supporting the Welbeloved Club in giving local elderly people a Christmas boost – and once again we're requesting readers' help.

We're running the Indie's Christmas Dinner Appeal – and we need YOU to help us give 120 socially isolated senior citizens from the Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth area a fabulous festive feast.

The Welbeloved Club was launched by Jo Sydes, now 31, in February 2018 to combat social isolation among the elderly. It is named in memory of her great-grandmother, Doris Welbeloved. It has become so popular that it now has 145 members, with a waiting list to join.

The Welbeloved Club Christmas Dinner at the Memorial Hall, The Forebury, Sawbridgeworth..
The Welbeloved Club Christmas Dinner at the Memorial Hall, The Forebury, Sawbridgeworth..

On the first Sunday of each month, 108 of them gather at the Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall and pay £10 for a two-course lunch and, more importantly, company and companionship.

Jo's mum Gill is chief cook and they are supported by a band of volunteers, who decorate the hall, prep, plate and serve the meals, sort and distribute the gift bags, clear up and take guests to and from the venue. They also deliver gift bags to club members unable to make it to the lunch.

For the club’s lunch on Sunday December 10, with a couple of extra tables squeezed in, 120 diners – and 25 volunteers – will enjoy a meal of turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding with mince pie and brandy sauce or cream, followed by tea or coffee. There will also be Prosecco, wine, sherry and soft drinks – plus gifts for each guest to take home and prizes for a raffle. And audience favourite Darrell Williams will again be singing a few tunes after lunch, encouraging the guests to get up and dance off some of their Christmas calories!

Santa’s little helper… Maisie McCambridge, then aged 3, delivering Christmas presents
Santa’s little helper… Maisie McCambridge, then aged 3, delivering Christmas presents

Once again, we're looking to our readers to donate ALL the food, drink and crackers required to give the event the full festive flavour.

And we're looking for businesses or individuals to 'sponsor' the following: £175 for the turkey crowns; £150 for gammon and pigs in blanket; £75 for miscellaneous items including nut roasts, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, cream and ‘free from’ desserts; and £100 for each of four sets of five seasonal table centrepieces created by Floral Desires, of Newtown Road, Bishop's Stortford, for guests to take home.

To contribute items, please see the Welbeloved Club’s ‘shopping list’ in the pledge form at the foot of this article. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to buy, just pop to your local corner shop or supermarket to purchase them and then drop off the items at the Indie office at 7 Palmers Lane, off the top of Bridge Street, in Stortford (CM23 3XB) – we're open weekdays 9am to 5pm – or the Gill family home at 20 Cedar Park, Thorley Park (CM23 4JU).

Please bear in mind that we require ALL items by 5pm on Friday.

Gill said: "I can’t tell you how grateful we are for the continued support of the Indie and their readers for the Welbeloved Club – we feel very privileged."

All the details are included in the pledge form. If you have any problems, please email paul.winspear@stortfordindie.co.uk.



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