AROUND 130 guests enjoyed a special Christmas Day lunch at County Hall in Trowbridge organised for people who might otherwise be alone.

They were served a traditional three-course turkey dinner with all the trimmings by more than 120 volunteers who had given up their time to help others enjoy their Christmas Day.

Organiser Kate Dewey, an emergency control crew manager with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “So many people are alone at Christmas for many different reasons.

“We’re hoping that things will change and that we won’t have so many people here. We would prefer the old-fashioned community spirit to come back and for people to invite others into their homes that they know will be on their own at Christmas.”

Trowbridge Mayor, Cllr Deborah Halik, said: “The atmosphere here is incredible. I’d like to thank the organisers and the volunteers for doing such a fantastic job.

“I’d also like to thank Apetito for providing all the food. Everybody is having such a great time. We’re so grateful to the people here for giving up their time to help other people from Trowbridge and the surrounding area at Christmas.”

People were bused in from all over West Wiltshire for the event, which started at Trowbridge fire station in 2011 but is now hosted in the Atrium of County Hall. Last year, more than 200 guests and volunteers attended.

Originally organised by staff from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, volunteers are now drawn from the Service, Wiltshire Council, Apetito and Elior, operating as Company For Christmas.

Kate Dewey has been involved from the outset and said: "None of it would be possible without the amazingly generous donations that we get from the local community, or the support of our fantastic volunteers all of whom are prepared to give up their own Christmas Day to ensure that others can celebrate as well."

Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "We're delighted to once again host this really worthwhile lunch event in the atrium at County Hall, as no one should be alone on Christmas Day.We recognise that this event helps many people to come together to celebrate the day and enjoy a wonderful Christmas lunch.

"I would like to extend my thanks to all the volunteers who work so hard to plan and deliver this very special event. I know many staff from Wiltshire Council, the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Company for Christmas give up their time to help make the day such a success."

Volunteers came in on Saturday to set up and decorate the Atrium at County Hall for Monday’s event. On Christmas Day they helped to collect guests and return them home in the afternoon and acted as companions on the day for elderly and vulnerable people who attended. They also organised and ran a raffle and put together gift bags for the guests to take home.

During the morning, guests enjoyed a performance by Melksham Rock ‘n’ Rollers. During lunch, they were entertained by a local group comprised of Allan, Tom and Noreen Schonfeld, and during the afternoon they took part in carol singing and a free Christmas quiz.