Stories and Testimonials
On this page you will find a number of stories and testimonials from people we have helped over the past seven years.
Their stories and comments have been broken down into different categories. In many cases their names have been changed and some have requested that we do not show a photo to protect their anonymity
The Nicholson Family - Christmas Day 2013
'Julie', 'Jack' and their three children joined Kevin on Christmas Day after being nominated by friends. Jack, is a skilled carpenter but had recently been made redundant in October. Having been made redundant Jack's thoughts moved to Christmas and he quickly realised that there would be no presents this year for himself and his wife and only token presents for the children. Being a proud man Jack didn't mention the circumstances to many people but after a visit from a friend, who had presents for all the family, Jack felt he no option other than to open up and tell the truth. Knowing Jack as well as she did his friend offered to lend Jack some money but as well as being proud Jack was stubborn too and thank his friend for the offer but declined, not wanting to be in debt to anyone.
However, unknown to Jack the friend contacted Kevin to ask if he could help and within hours a food parcel which had been donated was delivered along with invitations for the whole family to join Kevin on Christmas Day. After a little 'arguing' Jack and family accepted the food parcel and the invitations too.
In Jack's own words to Kevin "....thank you so much, you've just made Christmas for all of us. Without your invitation to lunch we would have been sat at home, in the cold eating beans on toast for Christmas Lunch....."
Shortly afterwards Jack went to visit Kevin to tell him some good news. Jack had a applied for a job a few weeks before Christmas and on the 27th December he received a letter offering him the job. The Nicholson family now live in the Wirral and keep in contact with Kevin and to quote Jack again "without your kind offer and help I don't know where we would be now. Thank you so much. We had a lovely meal and the large 'doggie bag' made sure we some nice food for a day or two afterwards" - Jack Nicholson 28th January 2014.
Drew - Christmas Day 2013
'Drew’s plans for Christmas Day changed in a moment with tragic news that his mum had died suddenly in her sleep on 22nd December.
Drew had recently finished college had moved to Derby to be closer to his mum, his only relative, after his dad passed years ago. Being an only child with no friends his plans for Christmas were ‘to sit at home in his lonely bedsit, to eat a cheese and onion sandwich, watch TV and get drunk, so drunk he might not wake up the next day, “after all what do I have now to live for after mum died?”.
Drew came to Kevin’s attention after someone contacted him via Facebook telling of Kevin's plans and within hours Kevin contacted Drew offering an invitation to join him on Christmas Day, which Drew gladly accepted. On Christmas Eve Drew rang Kevin asking if he could bring one the other ‘chaps(Phil) who was also living in the same bedsit’ with him on Christmas Day.
In Drew's own words "I had no one to turn to and no one to talk to until someone messaged me telling me Kevin was helping people in such bad times inviting them round for Christmas Dinner to help them out and listen to them. Since that day Kevin invited me he has helped me get my confidence back and made me a stronger person and now I'm happily married with a decent job and I've got my own house a gorgeous wife and a beautiful daughter. I just wanna say I big thank you to Kevin for helping me and making me a better person"
Having contacted Drew for his approval to tell his story he responded "Your very welcome buddy and thank you for being here for me when I needed someone means a lot thank you Kevin" - Drew 18th August 2020
Phil- Christmas Day 2013
'Phil' was a very happily married man with his own house, where he lived with his wife and two young daughters. He had a well paid job but in October 2013 he was redundant due to management cutbacks. Then to make life worse his wife left him, taking the girls with her. Trying to cope with everything Phil moved into a bedsit and allowed his wife and the girls to have ‘the marital home’. Due to everything that happened Phil took to drugs and alcohol resulting in a short period of time in rehab after which he was ‘granted accommodation’ at a hostel. However, being a proud man he, after a few weeks, chose to live in a bedsit instead, “away from the druggies”. By fate, Phil had chosen the same bedsit accommodation as Drew and on a fateful night both were talking and Phil opened up to Drew. The following day Drew rang Kevin to see if Phil could along too.
During the meal on Christmas Day Phil stated
"Thank you for inviting me today, without you I don't know what I would have done. I only had enough bread to make one sandwich, a small bit of cheese, a bag of crisps and one tin of soup. Not only have you made Christmas for me this year but you have also shown there are caring people in this world"
Not expecting anything apart from a meal and some company Phil was "gobsmacked" after the meal when Kevin gave him his large 'doggie bag 'to take home. Via Drew he sent this message to Kevin "Thank you so much for Christmas Day and all the food. If there is anything I can do to repay you please just ask". Kevin never took Phil up on his offer but did help him with more food later in January and that was the last contact Kevin had with Phil, who according to Drew "just disappeared overnight. Drew received a message a month or so later from Phil saying "Thanks for being a friend and for sorting Christmas Day for me. I'm now back my wife and the girls and life was 'back to normal' but I'm still treading on eggshells. Little things can mean a lot and can change lifes'. That was the last we heard from Phil and we hope is very happy now.
Christmas Day Lunch Complaints
As with everything in life we do get complaints and we take most of them seriously.
Below are all of the complaints we have in the six years we've been hosting this event (in chronological order) and our actions are shown in italics
The only complaint Kevin received was 'that there was too much food'
Our response: If that's the only complaint we're happy with that.
2014 we had a unfortunate incident involving an elderly lady who accidentally burnt her hair on a 'real' candle on the dining table
Our response: After a safety review we have now banned 'real' candles from our future events.
"We had no mash with our meal and it spoilt the whole meal"
Our response: Unfortunately with the catering facilities we had available proving 'mash' with the meal wasn't possible. However our other 60 plus guests didn't comment
Future actions: We will make sure mash will be available at future meals.
A general synopsis from a few concerned families and older guests
"That family over there are continually drinking alcohol, every time they finish a can they go for another one, there getting drunk and it's scaring me/my kids and are becoming intimidating"
Our response: The family concerned were immediately warned about their alcohol consumption and one of the family was ordered to leave the premises immediately, which he did. His mother thanked us for our intervention and apologises.
Subsequent response: The family concerned will not be invited to any future events.
Future actions: All guests will be limited to the amount of alcohol they can be served/consume at future events and anyone deemed to be drinking too much will be asked the leave the venue immediately
"We had to wait a long time to be taken home"
Our response: In the morning we had two mini buses available to us, one driven by Kevin and the other donated by a company with a driver (Anna) and her daughter. The second vehicle , with Anna and her daughter was 'dispatched ' to an elderly lady who wanted company with her meal so the Anna and her daughter happily went. However, the vehicle could only be used between certain hours and as result we only had one vehicle , driven by Kevin to drop off many guests.
Future actions: Ensure transport if available to ensure guests are returned home at a reasonable time.
"Our kids didn't order a starter or a fish course and are hungry"
Our response: Immediately the kids we given 'nibbles' and bread and butter to eat whilst waiting for their main course.
Future actions: Change the menu to ensure there is a starter for the kids
"I was served last on all courses and my main course was cold" - received after the event on a 'comment slip'
Our response: Someone has to be last be served and if said at the time that your meal was cold we would have done something about it.
We have since contacted this person who stated that he 'is shy in public and didn't want to make a fuss'"
Future actions: Talk to all guests to ensure they happy.
Whilst we accept that we will never be perfect and complaints will arise we have to bear in mind that all of our 'serving staff' on the day are volunteers and many do not have experience in the food industry but we appreciate they're hard work.
Even the 'big boys' get complaints, daily but for us to have so few is a credit to how well we plan every event.