Whitehead family to cook Christmas dinners for those in need

Noel and Gillian McKee (archive image).
Noel and Gillian McKee (archive image).

A Whitehead family are on a mission to cook up to 40 Christmas dinners for those who might otherwise spend the special day alone.

Noel and Gillian McKee are planning to host the festive feast in the town’s Methodist Church Hall on Christmas Day from 12:30pm to 2:30pm.

The event will be completely free and open to all who are either in need, lonely, “or just want to spend a couple of hours in good company”.

Noel, a crew member with Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, normally spends part of the day on duty.

But with Christmas off this year, he decided to organise an event after getting the go-ahead from Gillian and sons Tom and Cameron, who will all be helping out.

“We’re hoping to get about 35 to 40 people, but if numbers are too low we won’t run it,” Noel said.

“You don’t have to be lonely or in need; we know of people who have lost loved ones throughout the year, or have difficulties that prevent them cooking, so anyone is welcome, even if it’s after their own dinner to say hello.

"We'd like to have an idea of numbers by the start of December so we know if there's enough people to go ahead."

Since the plans were announced on social media at the weekend, offers of help have been flooding in.

It’s also hoped that the venture will inspire others in the community to reach out to their neighbours. “The whole community can get involved, even if it’s just by calling in with a older person to see how they’re doing or if there’s anything they need,” Noel added.

“If you can’t show a bit of peace and goodwill on Christmas Day, when can you?"

To register an interest, contact Whitehead Community Centre, any member of the clergy at the church, Carrickfergus Citizens' Advice Bureau, or call Noel on 07926 361201.