Mystery man shells out for old folks’ festive do

Mabel Allam  with Ernest Wainwright at the Christmas lunch held at Tapton Masonic Hall on Tuesday

Mabel Allam with Ernest Wainwright at the Christmas lunch held at Tapton Masonic Hall on Tuesday

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GIVING is what Christmas is all about.

But few have ever given so much and so freely.

Around 100 elderly people, many of them vulnerable, gathered in the stately surroundings of Tapton Masonic Hall to sit down for a Christmas lunch.

And not one of them had to pay a penny towards it – thanks to the generosity of one man whose identity they will never know.

For the fellow who provided the festive feast remains anonymous.

He splashed out more than £3,000 to give the OAPs a day to remember.

He also paid for the entertainment – local singer Geoff Summers who crooned his way thorough a selection of classics and Christmas songs.

And the donor provided a huge amount of raffle prizes which ensured every diner returned with a prize of some description.

The mysterious benefactor approached people including Julie Bramall of the Southey and Owlerton Regeneration group.

She was asked to recommend suitable recipients, to avoid his kindness being used to subsidise normal day care and social support.

In turn she told him about some of the vulnerable and lonely people with whom she works.

They included Winnie Hogan, aged 96, a widow who lives alone in Parson Cross.

Wearing her favourite dress, Winnie was mightily impressed with Tapton Hall.

“Isn’t it posh,” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to my lunch. It looks marvellous.”

Doreen and Raymond Cattell from Longley Hall were equally impressed.

Doreen, aged 80 and a retired dinner lady, said: “To provide all this and without ever wanting to be recognised is a very generous gesture.”