Determined March chef to cook up 50 dinners for the elderly and lonely on Christmas Day - despite no-one turning up to his 2015 dinner
- Credit: Archant
A kind-hearted March chef will lay on a free festive Christmas Day feast for the region’s vulnerable people for a second year – despite having no-one turn up at his first dinner.
Barty Alichper, chef at Paninis Coffee Shop on Market Place, opened up his shop and cooked dozens of free dinners with all the trimmings to those in need in the town last year, but was left disappointed – and with empty tables and chairs - when no-one took up the offer.
But, a year later, the determined chef says he plans on cooking up a festive feast again – and it will be bigger and better than last year.
“I think a lot of people didn’t come last year because they didn’t want to be labelled as homeless or vulnerable,” he said.
“So, this year, I’m reaching out to elderly and lonely people in the town as I know there are lots who would have come last year but didn’t know about it.”
Barty has teamed up with Age UK so his generous offer can be extended to people in Chatteris, Doddington and Wimblington and, in true festive spirit, local taxi driver Dave Humphreys says he is “more than happy to help” ferry those who want to spend Christmas Day at Paninis to and from the shop.
“I have been in the UK for 14 years and I have been helped a lot in various ways along the way, so this is my way of giving something back,” Barty said.
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“In Poland, where I was born, they do this kind of thing at railway stations every year.
“Life is harsh and doing this will hopefully be in keeping of the spirit of bringing people together.”
Barty plans on hosting two dinner sessions – at 12pm and 2pm – on the big day, with space for 25 guests per dinner.
Musical entertainment will also be provided by local singing duo Back2, who will host a Christmas sing-a-long.
To book, phone Barty on 07729 503017 or Dee Potter at Age UK Chatteris on 01354 691898.