The invitations are starting to go out for the Dannevirke community Christmas dinner being hosted by the Guardian Angels.

Donna and Murray De'Admin formed the Guardian Angels last year to host the community Christmas dinner.

"The Christmas dinner is for deserving members of the the community, people who will be without their family on Christmas day or who can't cope with cooking for themselves. It's across the board and it's about companionship," said Donna.

She spent last Thursday delivering 95 invitations around town to church and community groups such as the RSA, Rawhiti Lodge, Lions, Elske Centre, Tararua REAP and health providers.


She has also contacted all the schools in the area. Already 61 acceptances have been received. Last year 170 people were treated to Christmas dinner.

Fundraising began months ago with various functions and raffles being held.

A special birthday dinner and quiz night held in honour of Josie Small raised $835 toward the community Christmas. "It was a huge team effort on the part of friends and colleagues," Small said.

"Rochelle Murphy opened up her home to host the dinner and five friends cooked the meal for 38 people. It was very special."

Apart from the money that went toward the Christmas dinner another $400 was donated to Women's Refuge.

Dannevirke High School student Matilda Panchaud is the Guardian Angels' newest and youngest member.

Her chosen task is to make 200 Christmas crackers by hand. She has been visiting Dannevirke businesses to seek donations of small gifts that will fit inside a Christmas cracker and has been overwhelmed at the response she has received.

She has taken on the Guardian Angels project as she is working toward her Duke of Edinburgh award and needs to complete 14 weeks of community service.


She wanted to do something different in terms of community work and thought the Christmas dinner would be perfect.

Matilda has been helping out at other fundraising events and on Christmas Day will be helping out at the dinner.

Matilda has been raising money to pay for the Christmas crackers by holding sausage sizzles at the Dannevirke tennis courts every Thursday evening.

Dannevirke Pharmacy owners Hamish and Jess Pankhurst are holding a special fundraising evening on Thursday from 3.30pm till 6pm when Father Christmas will be in store.

For a $5 donation children can have their photograph taken with Santa and this money will all be donated to the Guardian Angels. "We wanted to help the local community and to give something back," Hamish said.

He says he's looking forward to playing the role of Father Christmas. "I don't get down on to the shop floor often enough but I love doing this and seeing the looks on the kids' faces."

There will also be a letterbox in store for children's letters to Santa. A letter will be drawn from these and the winner will receive a soft toy.

Other substantial donations had been received from the Viking Lodge Motel and Jane Phillips who operates a gym.