Oakwood School hosted Christmas dinner for the lonely

Oakwood School Headteacher, Clare Bradbury, joins guests for Christmas Day lunch at the school
Oakwood School Headteacher, Clare Bradbury, joins guests for Christmas Day lunch at the school

Oakwood School get's in the festive spirit as it opened its doors to people who would have spent Christmas day alone.

The festive initiative saw the school team up with the organisers of the nearby Emsworth Community Christmas, which has grown significantly over the last three years. An Oakwood spokesman said they were delighted to be able to offer another venue to allow the local event to expand to include Funtington Community Christmas as well.

Guests enjoy Christmas Day lunch at Oakwood School

Guests enjoy Christmas Day lunch at Oakwood School

Clare Bradbury, Headteacher at Oakwood School, said: "At the heart of our ethos at Oakwood is instilling an understanding that our children are a part of a larger community that they should actively seek to be a part of and what better day than Christmas Day to open our doors and share our beautiful school with people in our community.

"Many of our staff, families and friends were involved in the preparation and running of the day, helping to make Christmas Day a day to remember — even watching the Queen's Speech together.

"We are delighted that our guests had a wonderful day but the added bonus has been the pleasure that the event has brought our staff and families with the wonderful conversation we've had and the relationships we've started."

In the run-up to the Christmas Day event, the Oakwood team was busy fundraising and had also set up a JustGiving page for anyone wishing to donate. In addition, local businesses generously gave to the event including Chichester Waitrose, Chichester College, Parklands Butchers and Southbourne Farm Shop, to name a few.

Money raised was spent on transport, fresh produce, Christmas decorations and gifts for the guests.

Nearly 60 guests an volunteers were welcomed with canapés and festive drinks before enjoying a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. The organisers said there was 'much joy and laughter' and festive fun was enjoyed by all.

Guest enjoyed carol singing, music, presents, and conversation with new friends before the day drew to a close at 4pm. Father Christmas guests gifts that were put together by Oakwood pupils and were donated by Oakwood families.

Clare Bradbury added: "Our relationship with our wider community has been of such benefit to Oakwood. Our youngest children love their regular opportunities to make visits to local care homes and we have hosted wonderful tea parties for our local elderly community.

"I would encourage other Prep Schools to offer a warm welcome to their schools. For some, a trip up a prep school drive might feel intimidating but we love to make everyone feel welcome and use our space well."