Chapel’s Christmas lunch still going strong

Guests at the Wesley Chapel's Christmas lunch in 2009 (s)

Guests at the Wesley Chapel's Christmas lunch in 2009 (s)

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Harrogate’s Wesley Chapel is to host its 28th Christmas lunch this year, welcoming guests for a three course lunch on Christmas day.

The chapel will open its doors to anyone who would like some company on Christmas day, especially anyone who might otherwise be on their own at Christmas.

A three course traditional Christmas dinner, with roast turkey, will be served at 12.30pm.

And organisers are urging people to spread the word about the event.

A chapel spokesman said: “Maybe you know someone who would appreciate this invitation - if so, please pass it on.”

Guests are also welcome at the Wesley Chapel’s Christmas Family Service which will be held before the lunch in the chapel at 11am.

The lunch was first run in 1984, making 2012 the 28th time the chapel has welcomed people from Harrogate for a Christmas day celebration.

Over the last five years volunteers and organisers have seen the numbers swell from around 35, to 85 five people at last year’s lunch.

This year, they are hoping to host around 90 people.

“It’s going to be a squeeze!” organisers said.

Guests come from across Harrogate and Knaresborough, with many coming back to enjoy the hospitality and festive celebrations year after year.

Many are regular guests at the Wesley Chapel’s “Forward Together” lunches, which are held at the chapel every Thursday through the year.

On Christmas day the organisers rely on volunteers to run the lunch.

They are helped by a two-dozen strong team of loyal helpers who work in the chapel’s kitchens, serve dinner, and help transport guests to and from the chapel.

Some volunteers are members of the Wesley Chapel, while others come from Harrogate’s Council for Voluntary Service.

Cooking is presided over by one regular volunteer, helped by a chef from Harrogate’s Mirabelle restaurant.

Organisers said: “A lot of the guests come to the family service beforehand, and then come downstairs for a three-course lunch.”

After dinner is served, volunteers and guests have the chance to relax and enjoy the Christmas spirit together, they added.

“We have a little bit of entertainment after lunch, like a quiz or ‘name that tune’.

“Around 3pm we have tea and coffee, Christmas cake and mince pies, before we take the guests home,” organisers said.

The Wesley Chapel is on Oxford Street, Harrogate, HG1 1PP.

Transport can also be arranged to and from the lunch from homes around Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The lunch is free, for more information or to book a place call Philip on 01423 563990.