A Syrian family who have lived in Ottery St Mary for five years are holding a celebration evening which will also help promote their catering business. 

Mary’s Syrian Kitchen will be serving traditional dishes and desserts with hot and cold drinks, and the meal will be followed by dance, drumming lessons and music from DJ John Capon. 

The event hosted by the Arnaout family will take place at The Institute on Tuesday, September 27, at 6.30pm, and tickets are £20 in advance. 

The family are asking people to book early so that they know how many people to cater for. 

Hani and Amneh Arnaout came to Ottery in September 2017 with their two children after fleeing the war in Syria. Their resettlement in Ottery was arranged through the Government’s Community Sponsorship Scheme which enabled local organisations to help refugees to resettle in the UK.  

A project called Abide was set up through Ottery St Mary Parish Church, which had been approved as a community sponsor. Abide raised money to meet the family’s needs when they arrived, found suitable housing for them and supported them in many ways. This included helping them to learn English, register their children at the local school, access healthcare and work opportunities and make friends in the community. 

A year after their arrival Hani and Amneh had another baby who they named Mary in gratitude to the town of Ottery St Mary and the support they received from the local community. 

For a while Hani was working as a handyman, but lately he has been unable to do this for medical reasons. Last year Amneh set up a catering business from home, offering takeaways and home deliveries of Syrian food, and the celebration evening on September 27 is aimed at re-launching and promoting Mary’s Syrian Kitchen, giving local residents the chance to sample traditional dishes and learn more about Syrian cuisine. 

Amneh said: “We'll be delighted if you could join us for a special meal to celebrate five years in Devon and the launch of my catering business. I look forward to seeing you there, and please pass this invitation on to your friends and family.” 

Tickets can be booked online via Ticketsource.


Syrian celebration at The Institute event tickets from TicketSource