Diverse communities celebrated Christmas together at a heart-warming festive lunch in Paddock.
Refugees, asylum seekers, the elderly and young families were all among the 120 people who came together at the Jubilee Centre’s Christmas Day event.
Carol singing and music filled the air, while plates laden with food ensured no-one went hungry.
And it was all thanks to the hard work of a dedicated team of 85 volunteers from around the town, who postponed their own family meals to bring a smile to those in need.
The guests would have otherwise faced Christmas alone or not been able to afford to join in with the festivities at all.
It was the first Christmas spent in England for Sepideh Ghotbi and several other refugees and asylum seekers at her table.
Sepideh, 34, only moved to Golcar this year and is trying to claim asylum after fleeing Shiraz in Iran.
She said: “It’s fantastic to see and be around so many people from different backgrounds and to meet other asylum seekers and refugees.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever had a Christmas dinner - I must say I preferred the beef to the turkey. The volunteers have been wonderful.”
It was the highlight of the season for Dalton resident, Geoffrey Peace, 84, who was spending his third Christmas at the Market Street centre.
Geoffrey, a Longfield Close resident, said: “If I hadn’t have come here I’d have done nothing and would just have been in the house by myself.
“It’s made such a big difference. The staff are just marvellous.”
Now in its sixth year, the event was started by Charlene Novak, a worker at the Community Church that owns the building.
She volunteers each year with her four children, one of whom travels up from Aylesbury to take part.
Charlene, said: “After the Salvation Army stopped putting on their lunch I decided something had to be done because otherwise all the people who had previously been helped would have been left stranded.
“We get donations throughout the year and it’s just a brilliant day for all.”
Helping her get the guests to the party were another volunteer team, led by Ahmaddiya Muslims, Tariq Mahmood and Nadeem Uddin.
Tariq said: “It makes you feel so warm inside to be able to help.”