A pub landlord who has been named ‘the kindest in Britain’ has cooked more than 1,500 free Christmas dinners for homeless people over the past 20 years, and is planning on doing the same again this year.Colin Robinson, 66, invites poor and lonely people to join him at his boozer every Christmas Day for a free festive feast.
The kind landlord from Worcester says he started giving away Christmas dinners in 1994 and now packs out his pub, The Chestnut Tree Inn every Christmas Day. Colin said: “It was either 1994 or 1995 when it started for the old age pensioners when I ran The Bridge Inn in Hereford.
“I wanted to make sure they all ate. It started with that and then I’ve been doing it ever since. The Christmas lunch is almost an extension to my family in a way, so I can treat them like I would my own family.”
Colin spends the three weeks before Christmas peeling potatoes in preparation for feeding more than 50 hungry people. On Christmas Day, they will all be served a six-course dinner with mulled wine, mince pieces, prawn cocktail starters and a beef or turkey main.
His Christmas Day shopping bill includes up to ten turkeys, 56 lbs of potatoes, 28 lbs of carrots and parsnips, four bags of sprouts, 18 litres of gravy, 150 pigs in blankets, 24 bottles of mulled wine and 100 mince pies. He also cooks a turkey for a local hostel before delivering it to them.
His guests then finish off with Christmas pudding and trifle followed by cheese and biscuits and traditional carol singing to get into the festive mood. Colin said he spends the year fundraising to reach the £4,000 target needed to pay for all the festive ingredients.
The dad-of-one said: “I raise money over the year, in the region of £3,000 - £4,000 of the year. I take what I need for the meal and then donate the rest of the money to the food banks. People are very generous, I used to get money sent over from America, and notes in envelopes.
Colin has run The Chestnut Inn for the last 12 years and predicts that he has cooked around 1,500 free meals over the years. However, he now wants to find someone to take over the cooking as he ‘can’t keep standing on his legs for ten hours a day.’
“I’m still willing to organise it so if I can find someone to cook it, all being well we can continue doing it. Anyone who turns up is welcome but I do concentrate on the homeless, people on the streets, people who are in hostiles, women refugees,” he added.
Colin’s Christmas meals have also sparked festive romance for some guests.
He said: “A few years ago a couple of old dears came here on their own - a man and a woman, both in their 80s. They ended up sitting together, eating their meals together and they left together.”