Christmas dinner project launched by Ribble Valley dad of four marks eighth anniversary of helping vulnerable families

A Clitheroe businessman will don his santa hat for the eighth year running to make sure vulnerable and needy families across East Lancashire have food and presents on Christmas Day.

Hacker's Christmas Dinners began with £100 eight years ago that helped four families to put festive food on the table.

It has grown from there every year as Paul Hacker gained more support and donations for his drive to make sure no families went without at Christmas.

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Paul, who is the former landlord at the Kings Arms in Clitheroe, who now runs the So Sports bar in the town, said: "This only works due to the generosity of the people who donate food, toys and money.

Paul with his children Joelisha, Ruby, Olivia and Harrison

"From friends and colleagues to businesses and well wishers, there are many people to thank for making Hacker's Christmas dinners the success it is."

Along with food for Christmas Day Paul has included extra food donations and household essentials, along with toys and gifts for children in the families that benefit from the appeal. And seeing there is a need all year round, Paul helped to set up a foodbank in Hyndburn.

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The appeal works by asking people to nominate a family and this year around 90 nominations have been received.

The kind hearted father-of-four knows only too well the heartache of struggling to make ends meet.

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Paul and his family (front) with some of the Hacker's Christmas Dinners voilunteers

At the age of 19, and trying to work three jobs, Paul collapsed and was rushed to hospital he was that malnourished. He may not have realised how ill he was but he was also too proud to ask for help.

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With the support of a family he knew in his hometown of Rishton Paul was able to get back on his feet but he has never forgotten the experience and is determined to help others who find themselves in the same situation through no fault of their own.

Dad to Joelisha (19), 16-year-old Ruby Olivia (eight) and five-year-old Harrison Paul also his own business P H Sealants Ltd. And his children are among the band of volunteers who get involved to make sure everything is ready to go out for delivery on Christmas Eve.

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Hacker's Christmas Dinners has evolved from people writing scribbled notes or making phone calls and sending texts to the setting up of an online link where people can nominate families and also make a donation to swell the funds. Paul's friend, Steve Wild, set this all up for him free of charge.

Anyone who would like more information is asked to contact Paul through his facebook page, Paul David Hacker.

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