Topsham charity already planning for Christmas

THERE are still a mammoth 323 days to go until Christmas – but Topsham s Estuary League of Friends is already making preparations for the next festive season. The charity has started compiling a list of people who want to attend or help at its popular Chr

THERE are still a mammoth 323 days to go until Christmas - but Topsham's Estuary League of Friends is already making preparations for the next festive season.

The charity has started compiling a list of people who want to attend or help at its popular Christmas Day lunch.

The league of friends prepared lunch for 68 people last December at Topsham Rugby Club - a record number - with another four meals being delivered to peoples' homes.

Rachel Gilpin, chief executive of the charity, who organised the big day, said: "It was such a success, despite the cold and icy weather, that we're definitely doing it again in 2010.

"The Estuary League of Friends Christmas lunch has become a tradition for older residents, and it's going from strength to strength.

"This was the largest turnout in our five years of holding the event. We're grateful for everyone who gave a donation, a gift or their time and we're already compiling names for the next one."

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A turkey lunch with all the trimmings was topped off by Christmas pudding.

Carols heralded the arrival of Father Christmas and everyone who attended received a festive goodie bag containing sweets, a satsuma and other small gifts donated by well-wishers.

About 30 people helped with donations of money and gifts while the charity's staff and volunteers drove the guests to and from the lunch.