Surf club offers Christmas to those without

It is a time for family and friends, laughter and love – but what about those people who might not have a place to go on Christmas Day, or a friendly face to share it with?

John and Fay Kosten, long-time contributors of the Thirroul community, gave up their Christmas morning yesterday and encouraged many others to do the same, to stage a community lunch at Thirroul Surf Club.

‘‘Our family is all older now, so we started thinking about what other people might be doing for Christmas,’’ Mr Kosten said.

‘‘I was thinking about people who might be lonely, who lost their partners or don’t have anyone around right now. We just wanted to do something for these people.’’

Residents rallied behind the cause, with many businesses donating food, drinks, hams, puddings and more to the lunch, which attracted more than 50 people even before midday yesterday.

The Thirroul Bowling Club bus ferried people to and from the lunch – even while chatting with the Illawarra Mercury, John was organising the bus to pick up more people in the rain – and many people helped prepare or serve meals.

Dan Maruff and his family were among those who gave up their own Christmas to help others have an enjoyable day.

‘‘It’s nice to contribute to the community,’’ he said.

Mr Kosten said the lunch had received such an overwhelming response from local businesses that there was indeed too much food. He said whatever was left over would be donated to St Vincent de Paul and the Men’s Shed at Coniston.

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