By Daniela Loffreda
A Nottingham pub has teamed up with the fire service to deliver three-course Christmas dinners to vulnerable people in their community.
The White Lion in Bramcote will cook almost 40 meals to give away along with a gift to those struggling during the pandemic-hit festive period.
Pub owner Ivan Greensmith, 60, has been in the pub business since he was young but had left it when he moved to Bramcote 15 years ago.
The White Lion was his local for a year before he bought the tenancy when the lease came up for sale.
He said: “I’d come out of the licensed trade and wasn’t going back behind the bar again.
“But the draw of the White Lion pulled me in.”
Ivan has been preparing take away meals that have been delivered by the fire service since the start of the first lockdown.
But it was not until a few weeks ago that the idea took a festive turn when Ivan’s friend asked if he would be providing Christmas dinners.
A list of meal recipients has been put together with the help of Stapleford and Surrounding Areas Mutual Aid group.
Ivan said: “We are very much a community pub.
“There’s always going to be people that aren’t getting their Christmas dinner.
“If we do it, other pubs and restaurants might think it’s a good idea.”
He will be delivering some of the meals himself.
The dinner will include a prawn cocktail starter, roast turkey main and a Christmas pudding with brandy sauce for dessert.
It will be the first hot meal some have had in months.
Recipients will be those struggling for reasons varying from disability to loneliness.
Stapleford Town Councillor and founding member of the town’s Mutual Aid group, Sue Paterson, 48, is responsible for co-ordinating the initiative.
She said: “Some of these meals have gone to people who haven’t had a hot meal in a long time.
“When I asked one person if they would like a Sunday dinner, they asked “Will it have a Yorkshire pudding on it?”
“She hadn’t had a Yorkshire pudding in years.
“She had lived off just toast, not proper cooked meals.”
Stapleford Fire and Rescue Service will deliver 26 of the meals in one of their fire engines.
Crew manager Dan Gibbs, 35, is leading the project for the fire station.
He has been overwhelmed by the support from his fellow staff.
He said: “When I put the request out, I didn’t think we’d get that many people volunteering to give up their Christmas day.
“But the response from the guys at the station has been amazing.
“So we’ve got enough people to get the fire engine out the door.”
The fire crew will be the only faces that a lot of those getting a meal will see on December 25.
All those involved in running the scheme hope it can be carried out again next Christmas.