Restaurant offers free meal to people alone on Christmas Day

Walaa Hassan from restaurant Lola on London Road is offering free food and drink to those in need on Christmas Day.  He is pictured with two-year-old daughter Laila Hassan.

Walaa Hassan from restaurant Lola on London Road is offering free food and drink to those in need on Christmas Day. He is pictured with two-year-old daughter Laila Hassan.

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Kind-hearted restaurant bosses are opening the doors of their eatery tomorrow, to give a meal to anyone who has no one to spend Christmas Day with.

Lola, in London Road, Preston, will be open from 5pm on Christmas Day, providing food and soft drinks for free.

Walaa Hassan from restaurant Lola on London Road is offering free food and drink to those in need on Christmas Day

Walaa Hassan from restaurant Lola on London Road is offering free food and drink to those in need on Christmas Day

The gesture is aimed at anybody with no family to spend the day with, intended to “bring all communities together”.

Restaurant owner Walaa Hassan said he had made a similar offer in previous years, and said: “We do a lot of things like homeless days, but we never publicise it that much.

“This year more people know about it, and it’s great because there will be more people.

“We also do it, not only for the homeless, but also for lonely people, people who have no family, to come and spend time with other people.

“I think this is a great idea to bring all communities together.”

He said children were welcome, and added: “We did it last year and there weren’t so many people, but we really enjoyed it.

“There were people with no families and they were so happy because they are used to sitting at home lonely.

“We will be even more happy to see even more people. We have families come from Preston, Blackburn and Darwen.”

The restaurant will be offering a buffet-style Christmas dinner, with everybody welcome.

Mr Hassan added: “Even if people want to come and take it away, that’s fine.

“We will open until about 10pm or 11pm – it doesn’t matter how long people stay.

“I don’t do it for publicity, I just do it out of goodness to people.

“It’s all about family and spending time with others.”

Mr Hassan said his team did a lot of work with the homeless community in Preston, and said: “People regularly come to my place and I would never send the homeless out.

“Whenever a homeless person comes to my door, they eat.

“On some days, we take food to the homeless, we get takeaway food and take it to the town centre and whoever we find will get it.”

Elsewhere in Preston, the Foxton Centre will also be open over Christmas.

Today there will be a Christmas party from 11am to 2pm, with a Christmas Day meal provided tomorrow by Nando’s.

The meal is free but visitors require a ticket, which have all been taken.

On Boxing Day, there will be free meals provided between midday and 2pm.