If you are going to be alone or cannot afford Christmas dinner then don't despair - a group of Carterton people plan to ensure the festive spirit is not forgotten.

For the past 14 years volunteers have given up the festive day to host the Carterton Community Christmas Dinner for the lonely and needy.

Organiser Brian Hanson said it was a popular event where everyone had a great time and a pretty good meal as well.

"We started it for people who had no one at Christmas - people who would be sitting at home alone. We don't want people to be lonely at Christmas.

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"Last year we had about 70 people. We also delivered about five meals to people who couldn't leave their homes."

John Pepper supplies the group with four legs of lamb, Premier Bacon provides a ham and Carterton New World supplies vegetables and other food for the dinner.

Children from the Reform Church pop in to sing carols to the guests.

This year they have chocolates to give as gifts to those who attend and everyone heads away with a slice of Christmas cake, Mr Hanson said.

"It's just wonderful we have a community who get behind this and believe in us so we can do this ... everyone is so grateful. Everyone has a great time. It's about fellowship with everyone else."

As for people giving up the special day with their families to show others the true spirit of Christmas, the volunteers loved taking part, he said.

Already 50 people have booked their place for lunch at the Carterton Events Centre.

-To book your seat at a table call Mr Hanson on 0204 011 1476 or Cheryl at the Info Centre (06) 379 4081 or Sue at Carterton District Council on (06) 379 4030.

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