80 Chelmsley residents treated to free Christmas lunch and Victorian Christmas Fayre



During a week of Christmas community festivities at Grace Academy, 80 elderly residents from Chelmsley Wood were treated to a free Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.

Darren Gelder, the Academy’s Principal, joined staff and sixth form students to serve food at the lunch as residents, along with special guest the Rt Rev Dr David Carr OBE, enjoyed carols performed by the choir.

Elderly resident Cicely March, aged 82, said:

“It’s been really good to meet up with old friends.  The staff are marvellous.  A lot of people put youngsters down but the good ones don’t get the publicity, and the youngsters here are lovely.”

Guest Patricia Minihan, aged 82, added:

“They are lovely caring students here who can’t do enough for you. They take you wherever you want to go.  They’ve got lovely voices and it takes a lot to get up on the stage.”

The Rt Rev Dr David Carr OBE, said:

“The Academy’s interaction with the local community is superb and local people are really valued and wanted. I’m here because I’m part of the local community as a minister and it’s important to be involved in local events.   I’ve seen the Academy’s support for the local community progress and grow significantly over the last few years.”

The week of Christmas festivities culminated in a Victorian Christmas Fayre and Carol Service for the local community, with festive treats on offer including Santa’s grotto and winter wonderland, homemade chocolates, clothing, handbags, Christmas gifts, wreaths, and freshly made table decorations.

Twenty students from all year groups performed in the Christmas choir and fifteen sixth form students provided a chocolate fountain to support the event.

Darren Gelder, Principal, said he was pleased to welcome so many people from the local community and added:

“It’s a great opportunity to bring the whole community together at such a special time of year. Our Christmas lunch for elderly residents is now an annual event for us and is so important for the staff and students.  Everyone has volunteered to help and it has become a regular part of the Academy’s calendar.  Christmas is a time for sharing and bringing people together.  It’s a privilege to have these people here with us.”