Could you help save Christmas?
Glynn and Kwez Heywood have been running the ‘Westhoughton Community Christmas Lunch’ at their hotel, The Mercury Hotel in Westhoughton, for over seven years opening its doors to those individuals who may otherwise be spending Christmas day on their own. However, this year they are urgently looking for someone to come forward and take over the organisation of the event. Could you help?
Prior to taking over at The Mercury Hotel Glynn and Kwez used to help run a community Christmas lunch in conjunction with the local church in Thatcham where they lived for four years. When they moved to The Mercury Hotel they decided that they wanted to continue doing something for the local community on Christmas day and the ‘Westhoughton Community Christmas Lunch’ was born.
For over seven years members of the local community who may otherwise be spending Christmas day on their own have been invited to spend the day at The Mercury Hotel. Kwez Heywood explains:
“Glynn and I feel that no one should have to spend Christmas alone – it is a time for happiness, celebration and sharing. The Westhoughton Community Christmas Lunch brings a little festive cheer to those who don’t have anyone to share Christmas with. We had 27 guests in our first year and in recent years we have had over 60 guests, many of whom come year after year, who all come along and get to share Christmas with each other rather than on their own.
Our volunteer drivers pick guests up from their homes and bring them to the hotel at around 11am. We then have a fun filled day full of chocolates, drinks, traditional Christmas lunch, singing and entertainment before Santa arrives and hands out gifts to each of our guests. We then enjoy tea, coffee and Christmas cake before our volunteer drivers arrive to take people back home at around 4.30pm.
It is a fantastic community event and demonstration of community spirit at its best – we couldn’t do it without donations from local residents and businesses as well as our army of volunteers who work tirelessly and do everything from promoting the event, collecting donations and gifts, wrapping presents and peeling spuds…and there are a lot of spuds!”
Glynn and Kwez are selling The Mercury Hotel but before they move they are looking for someone to take over the organisation of the ‘Westhoughton Community Christmas Lunch’. Kwez explains:
“We have enjoyed our time at The Mercury Hotel and seeing the Community Christmas Lunch go from strength to strength each year. However it is time for us to move on to pastures new. Before we leave we really want someone to come forward and volunteer to take over the organisation of the Community Christmas lunch. It is always such a lovely fun filled day for people of all ages and it brings such pleasure to everyone that takes part – not only does it bring a smile to the faces of the guests who attend who may otherwise spend Christmas day alone but also the volunteers from the community who give up some of their time to help spread a little festive cheer. We really want the lunch to continue as it is important to those who attend – we don’t want people in the community to have to spend Christmas on their own again.
We are urgently looking for someone to come forward and take over the organisation of this years event, which will take place at The Mercury Hotel while we are still here, to learn the ropes so to speak and for them to then continue with the organisation of the Christmas lunch every year, whether it be at The Mercury Hotel or another venue in Westhoughton”.
Glynn and Kwez called upon Caroline Billington, Founder of Community Christmas – an organisation with the vision that ‘no elderly person in the UK should be on their own on Christmas Day unless they want to be’. This year Community Christmas has launched on a national basis with the aim of becoming the go-to place online for Christmas Day events. Glynn and Kwez heard about the campaign and contacted Caroline to explain their plans and requirement for a new event organiser and Caroline is now helping Glynn and Kwez in their quest for someone to save the ‘Westhoughton Community Christmas Lunch’.
Those who are interested in helping save the Westhoughton Community Christmas Lunch, either to take over the organisation of the event or to volunteer their time should contact Kwez or Glynn on 01942 810904
Go on, help spread a little festive cheer this year…would you want to spend Christmas day on your own? No we didn’t think so…