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Restaurant to open on Christmas Day to keep memory of community stalwart alive

PUBLISHED: 12:05 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:19 20 December 2017

Desmond Baldry from Desmonds, Lowestoft,  is set to open his restaurant on Christmas Day  in memory of Lesley Pickford. Picture: Nick Butcher

Desmond Baldry from Desmonds, Lowestoft, is set to open his restaurant on Christmas Day in memory of Lesley Pickford. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A Lowestoft restaurant is hosting a special Christmas Day lunch in memory of a community stalwart who always helped those in need over the festive period.

Desmonds, in London Road South, will hold ‘The Lez Pickford Christmas Luncheon’ on Monday, December 25.

The restaurant will prepare two separate servings, first at noon followed by another at 2pm, and has the capacity to provide Christmas dinner for 70 people.

Owner Desmond Baldry explained how the recent death of Lesley Pickford inspired him to organise the event.

Mr Pickford ran the Kirkley Area Support Association (KASA) and would open the charity shop on Christmas Day to serve soup and a roll to anyone in need.

Mr Baldry said: “Lez was a rough diamond and helped an awful lot of people throughout the years, especially the homeless and single mothers.

“Often if people needed something from the shop he would just let them have it.

“He was a huge figure in the community and will be sadly missed and we wanted to do something that would keep his memory alive.

“We thought it was unlikely anyone else would step in and seeing as we have all the facilities here as a functioning restaurant are able to do more than soup and a roll.”

Mr Baldry has received the blessing of Mr Pickford’s family to hold the day in his honour.

The 53-year-old restaurant owner is keen for anyone in need, whether that be through financial hardship or loneliness, to attend the Christmas dinner.

He said: “The most important thing we want to stress is everyone is welcome. There is no age barrier and no financial barrier.

“You can be as rich as you like and still be lonely at Christmas.”

As part of the fundraising efforts to cover the cost of the day Mr Baldry and Rev Eoin Buchanon, of St Peter and St John Church, Kirkley, performed a night of comedy at The Seagull Theatre raising £850 in the process.

If you are interested in attending the lunch or know someone who would benefit by joining the festivities contact Desmonds on 07375041364.

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