Kind hearted chef who threw open his cafe for a free Christmas lunch to those less fortunate is left with empty chairs and empty tables

Paninis

Paninis - Credit: Archant

A kind hearted gesture by a chef who threw open his café for a Christmas Day lunch to help the less fortunate found himself with empty chairs and empty tables when no one turned up.

Chef Bartosz Alichper at Paninis market Place, March, who is providing Christmas lunch for those in

Chef Bartosz Alichper at Paninis market Place, March, who is providing Christmas lunch for those in need of Christmas day - for free. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Chef Bartosz (Barty) Alichper cooked up the free festive treat for families in need by providing a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Barty, who runs Panini’s coffee shop on March Market Place, had been expecting to cook for up to 30 people after distributing invitations through March Foodbank. The meal was also open to anyone who was going to be on their own for Christmas.

But despite many giving donations and offering to help, the café remained empty.

Barty posted to a March Facebook page: “Dear people, I am disappointed, I must say but that’s life I guess.

Chef Bartosz Alichper at Paninis market Place, March, who is providing Christmas lunch for those in

Chef Bartosz Alichper at Paninis market Place, March, who is providing Christmas lunch for those in need of Christmas day - for free. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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“Thank you very much for amazing support.”

But far from being deterred the extraordinary chef with a heart of gold is planning another lunch – this time at Easter.

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“I’m going to focus on the elderly part of our community and organise an Easter lunch which is only in three months,” he said.

And he added: “I would like to let you know you I have raised £ 354. I spent £ 63 which leaves us with £ 291 in a kitty for Easter. How great is that!”

His spirited actions were the toast of March with dozens of people offering their support through social media.

One wrote; “You’re a lovely person to do such a wonderful thing on Christmas. Just shame some don’t appreciate what you’ve done.”

Another wrote: “Perhaps in hindsight your lovely gesture should be aimed at the many lonely old people who have no families around or are spending Christmas on their own for other reasons.”

One other resident said: “Extremely disappointing Barty. There was an incredibly positive response to what you were prepared to do on here.

“Some licensed premises are knocking out Christmas meals for £45 a pop. The gesture that you’ve made will not be forgotten”.

One woman wrote: “I hold my hat off to you Barty...such a lovely gesture perhaps someone will return the favour next year....your efforts have not gone unnoticed...such a kind heart ....well done.”

Another wrote: “Whatever reason they didn’t turn up we don’t know and shouldn’t judge. Don’t let it put you off wanting to help those with nothing in the future; it was a lovely gesture regardless. Merry Christmas x”

One other woman wrote: “My mum volunteers at the food bank so I know for a fact they did tickets for this.

“Why take a ticket to not turn up? Makes me livid ... and wouldn’t any good person cancel if they couldn’t make it? “

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