Following a year’s enforced break from their popular festive lunch, local Rotarians are again reaching out to those who may be alone on Christmas Day.

Each year the Rotary Club of Eastbourne opens the doors at Our Lady of Ransom church hall to provide lunch and entertainment for up to 100 people who would otherwise spend Christmas Day alone.

Last year’s lunch fell victim to the Covid pandemic, although Rotarians instead delivered gifts and goodwill messages to people’s doorsteps across the town.

The event is back this year and lunch will be followed by tea, cake and entertainment. The party runs from 1pm until 4pm. There is no charge and free transport can be laid on for those needing it, although it is not possible to accommodate either wheelchairs or fixed frame walkers.

Guests must live within the boundaries of the borough of Eastbourne, Willingdon or Polegate. People living outside this area can be considered but would need to make their own way to and from the venue.

“No one should be alone on Christmas Day, ” said club president, Brian O’Neil. “If we can possibly prevent that, then we want to. “So please do let us know if you are aware of a neighbour, of whatever age, who is likely to be alone this Christmas Day. We will make contact with them and do all we can to help. “We’re so glad to be back! Our party is a fun event which brings people together at a time of year when – more than ever – they need to know that someone cares about them.”

Transport is provided but having lost its access to a minibus with the closure of Moira House School, the club is seeking to borrow a vehicle from elsewhere. It is also looking for additional drivers or volunteers, with their own cars, between midday and 5pm on Christmas Day. Anyone interested should contact Rotarian Nicola Williams by email at nicolamw@btinternet.com or call her on 07766 798773.

If you want to to attend the lunch yourself or know of someone who will be alone, please contact Rotarian Dennis Thompson on aloneguest01@gmail.com or call on 01323 749329.

Photograph shows former president David Garlick with Rotary colleagues and volunteers at a previous festive lunch.