Free Rushden Christmas dinner forced to change venue after overwhelming response

From L-R: Michelle Parkinson, Carl Ring, and co-organiser Lianne Wharton.
From L-R: Michelle Parkinson, Carl Ring, and co-organiser Lianne Wharton.

A free Christmas dinner for the homeless and elderly put on by a Rushden woman who was left without a home as a teenager has had to move to a bigger venue after the overwhelming reponse it has had.

Michelle Parkinson, who owns Cherrie Bakewell cake shop, had planned to host the dinner at her business this Saturday, December 12 from midday to 5pm.

But so many people have got in contact with her that she is now holding the dinner at the Full Gospel Church in High Street South.

She turned her life around to go to college and then join the navy, and is now a business owner.

And she hopes she can use her own inspiration to help others who are struggling by ‘giving them a good feed’.

She said: “I had to sleep in my car for two weeks as a teenager and I literally had nothing, it was the worst time of my life.

“A couple gave me dinner and it really got me back on track.

“Rushden gets a lot of bad press because of the stabbings and shootings there have been but I genuinely adore it, there are so many good people here.

“I just want to help people who are experiencing problems because if it wasn’t for us my dad would be spending Christmas alone and I’d hate that.

“We’ve had such a good response so far and people have been so generous, we’ve had donations of turkeys, chicken, crackers, plates and more.

“Businesses such as Tesco and Wilkinsons have donated gift cards and meat so we can provide a full dinner with all the trimmings.

“Sometimes it’s important to remember that Christmas isn’t all about the newest Playstation, but it’s about helping others.”

If you can donate items or wish to volunteer your time and help Michelle, visit the shop, call or 01933 78140 or email