Burnley chef serving up true spirit of Christmas with free Christmas Day dinners

A warm-hearted Burnley chef is opening up his cafe on Christmas Day to serve free dinners to those less fortunate.

Dad-of-five Carl Hayes (51), who runs Relish Cafe in Keirby Walk, said he could not stand the thought of somebody being alone on what should be one of the happiest days of the year and wanted to help the best way he knew how.

Carl Hayes, who runs Relish Cafe in Keirby Walk

Carl Hayes, who runs Relish Cafe in Keirby Walk

He will be opening his cafe all day on December 25th when he will be cooking mouth-watering Christmas dinners, with all the trimmings, for anybody who is alone, homeless or just generally struggling.

"I want them to come along and have a really good day. It's going to be a full afternoon of festivities for people who would otherwise be on their own. Loneliness is a horrible thing and at Christmas it can hit people even more.

"I was watching a TV programme and it had an elderly person sat there with a TV dinner in front of her watching the Queen's Speech by herself. It was so sad. It's not a nice thing to see. So I thought I'd try and do something."

Former builder Carl said a number of his customers had even brought in presents to hand out on the day.

"I've got customers who are coming down on the day to help out and the local martial arts club, Pendle Martial Arts; a couple of lads from there are going to come down as well.

"We're going to be open all day and I'm going to be looking at serving meals from 1pm and around 3-30pm.

"It's so sad that so many people are struggling like this nowadays, but it does seem like there are more people willing to help out. That's the positive side of it."

Anybody who would like to take Carl up on his generous offer needs to let him know before Christmas Day by either popping into the shop, ringing him on 01282 427400 or contacting him through the Relish Facebook page.

Carl, who is a fully qualified chef, only opened the cafe in October but has already found himself with some "brilliant" Burnley customers.

"We're doing good. Burnley is such a friendly town. The customers I have are just brilliant. You meet some real characters, some real salt of the earth people. It's a great place to be."