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Christmas Comes Early to Rotherham
Published Wednesday 28th September 11
Santa is travelling to Rotherham early this year in a bid to make sure nobody misses out on the fun and turkey trimmings of the festive season.
Rotherham Borough Council is teaming up with big-hearted South Yorkshire housewife Gloria Stewart to bring the successful "Home Alone at Christmas" event to the Park Inn Hotel at Manvers.
The Home Alone event, which gives people who will be spending the festive season alone the chance to celebrate Christmas in similar company, has been a smash hit when held in Sheffield last year, introducing hundreds of people to new friends and spreading Christmas cheer.
Taking place on Thursday December 1, guests will be treated to traditional Christmas cheer, presents and entertainment, donated by local businesses and organisations, including the Park Inn Hotel, who are donating the use of their main exhibition room free of charge for the day.
After being invited to see the Sheffield "Home alone at Christmas" event in action during her Mayoral year, Councillor Rose McNeely was approached by Gloria Stewart regarding holding a similar event in the town.
Councillor McNeely said: "Unfortunately, there are occasions where people find themselves alone at that time of the year when you should be surrounded by friends and family having fun.
"When you realise what, potentially, it will mean for people who will be alone this Christmas to be in the fantastic environment that 'Home Alone at Christmas' will provide, then it makes it a very worthwhile event to organise and stage.
"Plus, due to the fact it's taking place on December 1, it gives people the chance to make friends who they can then invite to enjoy Christmas with them on the 25th.
"I hope that everybody gets behind this event. It's not about being desperate or sad, it's about saying 'I do want to enjoy Christmas and I WILL enjoy Christmas'. It'll be great if local businesses could help too. If you can help with donations of food or drink, please get in touch."
Business Development Executive from the Park Inn Hotel, Natalie Haynes, said: "As soon as we heard about Home alone at Christmas event coming to Rotherham we signed up immediately.
"The Park Inn Hotel are more than happy to be involved with this fantastic event as the hotel team always like to support the local community when they can."
Sheffield housewife Gloria Stewart has organised a "Home Alone" event every December for the last four years after meeting an elderly woman who had spent several previous festive seasons alone after losing her husband.
Gloria said: "I'd like to give Rotherham a taste of the success other Home Alone events and with your help, and support from the local community, this can be achieved.
"It all started from a chance meeting in a hospital waiting room and a conversation I had with an elderly lady which imprinted something which kept returning back to me.
"I asked if she would be spending Christmas with her family or friends and her reply was that for the last four years she had made herself a flask of tea and a packet of biscuits and spent most of the festive season in bed.
"This was apparently not an isolated case and apparently at least six out of 20 people in the waiting room told a very similar story. I tried to dismiss the thought but because I had never experienced loneliness I could only imagine what it must be like for every day to be the same.
I sat back and thought how I would feel in this situation and realised I did not like the answer. These people did not ask to be lonely, it just happens and it could be anyone of us.
"No one knows when it is going to affect them, after all most of us are guilty of living in our own little bubble, not thinking about the rest of society.
"It you would like to request a seat at the Home Alone at Christmas event, or are a business who would like to donate goods or services in any way to the event, please get in touch on 01142 570 460."
Home Alone at Christmas will take place on December 1 at the Park Inn Hotel, Manvers, from 12 noon until 3.30pm.