'Inspirational' Wakefield Man is hosting Christmas Day dinner after winning support from local supermarket
A Wakefield man who has suffered mental health problems is hosting a free Christmas Day Dinner for more than 100 lonely or underprivileged people after winning support from a local supermarket.
Ryan Simpson has organised the free meal at a Leeds community centre to help people who are struggling financially or feel isolated and lonely at Christmas.
He asked for help in an appeal published in the Wakefield Express last month and Jack's supermarket on Ings Road in Wakefield stepped in to help and donated enough food to feed 100 people.
The Christmas Day dinner will be hosted at Swinnow Community Centre in Bramley, Leeds, from 11.30am to 5pm with transport provided from Leeds city centre to the venue.
Mr Simpson said: "I wanted to host this event because I know first hand how difficult this time of year can be regarding loneliness or mental health issues as I myself have severely with my mental health a couple years ago this time of year.
"To see everybody spending time with family and friends when you have neither of those can be really heart breaking and hard to deal with.
"I’m hoping with this event I can bring everybody together who feels the same way or is experiencing the same situation this year and in doing so can make a huge difference in not only their Christmas Day, but also how they are feeling mentally."
Louise Holcroft, of Jack's supermarket, said: “Jack’s are always looking to support local good causes and when store manager, Ahmed Vachhiyat saw the article in the Wakefield Express he and his team wanted to help and for Ryan to be putting others before himself in this way is truly inspirational and we hope that everyone has a fantastic time at the community Christmas dinner."
Mr Simpson said: “I’d like to personally thank Jack's food store for their amazing offer of donating all the food to cover the Christmas Day event.
"Finding the money to cover the food was very daunting at the start and now knowing it will be covered is such a relief and a huge step in making this event a very special successful one for everybody involved."
Mr Simpson said: " It started off with nothing but a few ideas in my notebook now I have the venue sorted, the food sorted, gifts sorted, leaflets sorted.
" Everything is pretty much ready to go now and I really hope I can make this day as special for everyone who attends as it will be for me personally to be able to share my Christmas Day with people and not be sat around feeling lonely and down as the previous Christmas days
"Anybody that is going to be lonely, is struggling, is just not feeling 'christmassy' - as I know myself I don't usually enjoy Christmas it is a lonely time of the year - but I personally want to invite you all to come down on the day, it is going to be amazing.
"If I manage to make this day successful it will be the most proud achievement of mine as I hope I can stop people feeling as low and lonely as I did myself during this period.
"If I can have a positive impact on even just one person I will be very happy, but the amount of people now wanting to attend is amazing and if I can make sure they enjoy Christmas Day I will be very happy."
"I have had a huge amount of support but would like to thank Rebecca Thirkhill who has been a massive help going out everyday to collect donations, she has done an amazing job.
The dinner will be hosted at Swinnow Community Centre in Leeds on Christmas Day from 11.30am to 5pm with transport provided from Leeds City Centre to the venue.
A Just Giving page has been set up with all donations welcome and will all be in support of the event.
All donations are welcome here.