Christmas Cheer reaches climax with dinner for 300 at Hearts and Hibs

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HEARTS and Hibs both threw open their doors to provide a slap-up Christmas dinner to people who would otherwise not have been able to enjoy the traditional festive fayre.

It marked the culmination of this year’s Edinburgh Cheer campaign which saw the Evening News team up with the two clubs, NHS Lothian, Network Rail, Tesco and the Scottish Government to make Edinburgh and the Lothians the Capital of Kindness.

Leeann Dempster with helpers ''l-r Alexander age 7, Paul, Chantelle 1, Claire, Lady, Leeann, Nathan age 8, Tanya (Volunteer), Mary, Lucy (volunteer). Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Leeann Dempster with helpers ''l-r Alexander age 7, Paul, Chantelle 1, Claire, Lady, Leeann, Nathan age 8, Tanya (Volunteer), Mary, Lucy (volunteer). Picture: Lisa Ferguson

At Easter Road, around 200 people sat down to home-made soup, turkey with all the trimmings - or a nut roast for vegetarians - and trifle. Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster and chairman Rod Petrie chatted to some of the guests.

Ms Dempster said: “It’s a fantastic day for everyone at the club. We open the stadium doors and welcome lots of people in - some of them are Hibs fans and some will never have been here before; there are local people, people who are in this country as refugees, old, young, homeless - and it’s great to see everyone mixing together and enjoying a special Christmas.”

Across the city, Hearts welcomed about 100 guests to a similar feast at Tynecastle.

Hearts’ director of communities Ann Park said: “It’s been a fantastic Christmas Day, with the club opening its doors to the extended Hearts family and many others who would otherwise have spent the day alone. It’s heartwarming to see so many volunteer Hearts fans giving up free time on Christmas Day to help those most in need enjoy a memorable day at the Stadium. Our guests enjoyed great company and a delicious festive dinner.

Russel 'the reindeer' McLauchlan serves up. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Russel 'the reindeer' McLauchlan serves up. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

And among the volunteers was five-year-old Sophie Robertson, who handed out sweets to many of the guests. A Hearts spokeswoman said: “Sophie heard what we were doing and wanted to come and help. Her mum got in touch and we were delighted to have her along.”