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Mammoth Christmas Eve effort to deliver 400 meals

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A mammoth Christmas Eve effort has seen nearly 400 Christmas dinners delivered today to people in Middlesbrough who might otherwise go without.

Middlesbrough Council's Neighbourhood Safety team organised the heroic effort which was described as a "small but really special addition to all of the other things we do" by the town's Mayor Andy Preston.

The authority teamed up with Linthorpe Road restaurant Oven who cooked the 370 Christmas dinners for elderly, vulnerable or lonely people.

Seven staff at the restaurant began preparing the meals yesterday morning (Wednesday, December 23) and continued all morning and afternoon today cooking them.

An option of a vegetarian nut roast, beef or award winning Cumbrian turkey was given, while 1,400 containers were used to keep the meat, gravy, vegetables and potatoes apart.

Tarek Thoma, owner of Oven, said: "We really wanted to give these people a treat. Hopefully we can make people smile."

Once the meals were prepared Middlesbrough Council's Neighbourhood Safety team began a mammoth volunteering distribution effort joined by fellow council staff and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and the authority's Executive Member for Communities and Education, Cllr Mieka Smiles.

Mr Preston said: "Middlesbrough Council does a million things to help the people of the town. Delivering hot meals to people who might go without a Christmas dinner is a small but really special addition to all of the other things we do.

"For myself and council staff who have volunteered we are delighted to be able to bring some Christmas cheer."

Photo of the special Christmas dinner from the Oven Photo of the special Christmas dinner being delivered