Festive cheer for pensioners from owners of two Harrogate restaurants

The owners of two of Harrogate independent restaurants are giving up their Christmas Day to help elderly and vulnerable people in the town.

Sara and Stefano Lancellotti, who, along with Sara’s father Brian Ferguson own award-winning Italian restaurant Sasso, will be opening up and serving festive lunch to a group of pensioners on Christmas Day.

The couple, who also own café/pizzeria Caffe Marconi, have decided to set aside part of their own Christmas Day celebrations to help the elderly in the town.

They have teamed up with St Mark’s Church in Harrogate to identify people to invite to the meal.

The Rev Dan Watts, of St Mark’s Church, and his wife and family, will also be coming along on Christmas Day to help serve the meal to the 40 pensioners from across the district.

Sara and Stefano, whose restaurant Sasso has been open in Harrogate for the past 16 years and is in the 2015 Good Food Guide, are appealing to their customers to help ensure that each pensioner turning up for Christmas lunch has a small gift to open.

“We have been thinking about doing something like this for a long time – we know there are people who are lonely at Christmas and we would like them to come along to us and enjoy a home-cooked lunch and meet others who are also on their own,” said Sara, whose son Nico, eight, will also be helping serve the Christmas lunch.

“We hope that we can help serve up a little bit of Christmas cheer at a time when some people are on their own,” she added.

Stefano, whose mother lives in Italy and has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, said he wanted to help the elderly in his adopted home-town of Harrogate.

“I can’t be with my own mother at Christmas this year, so I wanted to help those who will be on their own.

“We have never opened before on Christmas Day but instead of charging people for a festive meal, we want to help the elderly and vulnerable in the local community,” he said.

“That is the idea of Christmas – we want to give something back to the community and do something positive,” he said.

Rev Watts, vicar at St Mark’s Church, Harrogate, said he was delighted to be part of the initiative.

“We can’t wait to be part of this. it’s a brilliant initiative and says more about Christmas than any wrapped up present I can think of,” he said.

“It is a sign of the kind of love that Jesus’ birth is all about,” he added.

Anyone wanting to drop off small gifts for the pensioners, or to make a donation to help buy Christmas gifts, should drop them into Caffe Marconi, in Princes Square, Harrogate.

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Stefano Lancellotti

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