Your gen­eros­ity helps to bring a lit­tle fes­tive cheer

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Thom Mor­ris tmor­ris@thek­m­

THE true spirit of Christ­mas shone on De­cem­ber 25 when less for­tu­nate res­i­dents of Ash­ford were treated to Christ­mas lunch.

Or­gan­ised by the Ash­ford Sal­va­tion Army and helped by an army of about 100 vol­un­teers, peo­ple en­joyed a three-course lunch, games and a food par­cel to keep them go­ing un­til next year; con­tents cour­tesy of the joint Sal­va­tion Army and Ken­tish Ex­press Christ­mas Present Ap­peal.

Smithy Drive res­i­dent Devsiri He­wavi­dana vol­un­teered to act as a taxi driver for the day, fer­ry­ing folk to the East Stour pri­mary school where the event was held.

His pas­sen­gers in­cluded Stan­hope cou­ple Dorothy and Malcolm along with Ken­ning­ton fa­ther and son Dou­glas and Mark.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing en­gi­neer Mr He­wavi­dana said: “Dou­glas and Mark told me they were liv­ing alone and had been to the Sal­va­tion Army event last year and thor­oughly en­joyed it.

“Malcolm and Dorothy told me that be­ing a dis­abled cou­ple they never get to go out so they were looking for­ward to hav­ing a great day.

“To my sur­prise the Mayor, John Hol­land, and the May­oress ar­rived. He went round the ta­bles shak­ing hands with guests and talk­ing to them.

“My guest Malcolm was so over­whelmed he started to cry say­ing he had never met a mayor in his life and this was a red let­ter day for him.”

By lunchtime guests en­joyed their din­ner cou­pled with car­ols played on the pi­ano by young vol­un­teers.

Fa­ther-of-three Mr He­wavi­dana added: “I no­ticed how the el­derly peo­ple were join­ing in with the songs and clap­ping and cheer­ing.

“They were hav­ing a won­der­ful time. One lady of 85 told me that she had five chil­dren and 12 grand­chil­dren, all mar­ried now.

“When she said none of them had in­vited her for Christ­mas I felt very sad.

“An­other el­derly gen­tle­man told me that he used to work as a nurse for 30 years.

“His chil­dren all live in Ash­ford and they rarely see him. Only one had both­ered to send him a card. He was ever so grate­ful to the Sal­va­tion Army.”

Af­ter the din­ner and en­ter­tain­ment, which in­cluded Mr He­wavi­dana’s six-year-old son Dinum danc­ing, guests lis­tened to the Queen’s speech. It was then time to say good­bye for an­other year. Ev­ery guest was given a car­rier bag full of food and good­ies do­nated by KE read­ers.

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