Christmas feast for homeless thanks to Samlesbury Hall

People who find themselves homeless over the festive period are in line for a Christmas feast, thanks to the generosity of one of Lancashire’s most unique attractions.

By Megan Titley
Saturday, 14th December 2019, 6:00 am

A last-minute cancellation at Samlesbury Hall meant that food destined to feed 74 people was now not needed.

Bosses at the attraction decided that, rather than see good food go to waste, they would instead look to do a good turn and donated it to a charity for the homeless.

Now people helped by the innovative organization, Nightsafe will benefit from the gesture, as Christmas dinner with all the trimmings is served to those most in need.

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(l-r) Lauren Catterall, deputy director of Samlesbury Hall; Tedd Walmsley trustee of Nightsafe; Samlesbury Hall head chef, Colin Smith and Graeme Ottewell who is a member of the kitchen team.

Sharon Jones, Samlesbury Hall director, said: “The Christmas party was cancelled so late in the day that there was no refund for the company concerned.

“We wanted something positive to come out of the situation and were very keen for the food to find a good home, so immediately thought of a local charity which helps the homeless.”

Sharon contacted Tedd Walmsley, a local businessman who owns a magazine publishing company and is also a trustee of Blackburn-based charity, Nightsafe.

The organisation seeks to help young adults aged between 18 and 24 who are homeless, and provides them with accommodation and support.

Graeme Ottewell who is a member of the kitchen team; Samlesbury Hall head chef, Colin Smith; Tedd Walmsley trustee of Nightsafe and Lauren Catterall, deputy director of Samlesbury Hall

She offered all food ordered for the party to the charity, in the hope it might bring a little festive cheer to those who need a Christmas boost.

The local suppliers who have also chipped in with lots of extras for the homeless include WB Clarke and sons, Ribble Farm Fare and Oncore Foods.

The idea was supported by Expleo, the company which had cancelled the Christmas meal. Staff there also plan to raffle off wine which had been bought for the event.

Mr Walmsley, who this weekend will sleep outdoors to highlight the plight of the homeless, said: “I have known Sharon and the team at Samlesbury Hall for many years in a professional capacity.

“When she called to ask if Nightsafe would like to be the recipient of the food, of course we said yes. It was joyous to get such an offer.

“It will mean that we have to buy less in, and therefore save money, or that we can feed more people than we might otherwise have this Christmas.

“We support far more people than the 20 to whom we give accommodation.

"We help others affected by homelessness and also work with charities who support those on the edge of homelessness or who need our help in some way.

“It is not right that in 2019 we have so many people who are sleeping on the streets.

"As individuals, or as an organisation, we cannot change Government policy.

"But we can make a difference in our own communities, and that is what we strive to do.”