Holbeach lunch helps hospital

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An elderly gent living in the Holbeach area literally owes his life to some people with big hearts.

The man, let’s call him Jim, was at home alone in an unheated house in the middle of winter. He had been in bed for three days feeling very unwell.

Sue Dunne and Alan Appleyard present their latest �200 donation from Dunne's Diner to new Holbeach Hospital manager Maxine Winch. Photo: SG130415-150TW

Sue Dunne and Alan Appleyard present their latest �200 donation from Dunne's Diner to new Holbeach Hospital manager Maxine Winch. Photo: SG130415-150TW

He was actually suffering from hypothermia, and would most probably have died if fate hadn’t intervened.

Thankfully, his absence was noticed at the regular foodbank he attends and one of the volunteers plated up a meal to take to him.

“He opened the door and collapsed on the floor,” says Sue Dunne, who was at that time very involved in the foodbank held at the Reading Rooms in Holbeach.

“They took him into hospital. He always says if it hadn’t been for us he wouldn’t be here.”

New Holbeach Hospital manager Maxine Winch. Photo: SG130415-153TW

New Holbeach Hospital manager Maxine Winch. Photo: SG130415-153TW

Sue and her partner Alan Appleyard, who still helps with the foodbank, were aware that some of the people they met there were very lonely.

In fact, Jim had told Sue he never saw anyone else from one week’s foodbank visit to the next.

So, after 18 months cooking for the foodbank, Sue decided in February to set up Dunne’s Diner, offering a two-course lunch for £5.50 every Wednesday (noon-1.30pm) to anyone who enjoys good quality home cooked food.

Using the refurbished kitchen at the WI Hall in Holbeach, Sue and a team of volunteers cook up lunches for anything up to 25 people each week.

It’s providing healthy meals, but more importantly than that it is also bringing people together for a sociable hour or two.

Even better, once the cost of the hall and buying meat and other produce has been deducted – all the vegetables are donated by Steve Andrews of JSA – the lunches enable Sue and Alan to make regular donations to Holbeach Hospital. So far, they have given £200 in March and another £200 on Monday.

“While people keep supporting us, we can keep supporting the hospital,” says Sue.

She and Alan are kept busy with a big family – eight children between them plus six grandchildren each and three greatgrandchildren – but Sue says she needs to keep occupied.

Not satisfied with baking for the monthly cake stall at All Saints Church, where she also helps with the flower festival, Sue wanted something else to keep her “jogging on”.

It was her son Christopher, now working as a carer at Holbeach Hospital after starting there as a volunteer, who suggested raising money for extras for patients.

Everyone is invited for lunch – and people who can help should go along too.