MORE than 80 diners enjoyed a festive banquet to remember this Christmas thanks to a charity which helps people in crisis.

Lifeline Community Action’s Helping Hands team pulled out all the stops to provide a free Christmas Day lunch with all the trimmings at Woodham Golf and Country Club in Newton Aycliffe.

John and Mandy Richardson, food and beverage managers at the golf club, supplied the venue for free and also raised £200 towards running costs.

They proved the perfect hosts with guests enjoying the red carpet treatment and volunteer chefs and waiting staff offering service with a smile.

Diners were also treated to handmade favours and Father Christmas made a surprise visit to deliver personalised presents.

Carol singing and a four-course meal were the icing on the cake, leading some guests to describe it as their best Christmas ever.

Alwyn White, a Helping Hands trustee, said: “We would like to thank every single person who supported us in any way. Without you, this event would never have happened.

“You helped to make a lot of people extremely happy on Christmas Day. The day was truly full of love, fun and laughter.”

Lifeline Community Action is a Christian charity that helps people of all faiths and backgrounds in the Newton Aycliffe area in times of crisis.

One way it does this is by providing emergency hampers to those in need and the charity is appealing to the public to donate unwanted Christmas presents.

The plea follows a survey of 2,000 adults which showed one quarter of people take unwanted gifts to charity shops and one in 20 admit throwing presents away.

To donate an unwanted gift contact the Helping Hands team on 07936-431262