Rushden woman to help homeless with free Christmas lunch after describing weeks spent living in a car as ‘the worst time of her life’

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 Rushden cake shop owner who went through ‘the worst time of her life’ when she was made homeless as a teenager is to host a free Christmas lunch for those who are struggling.

Michelle Parkinson, who owns Cherrie Bakewell Party Cakes in Church Street with her husband Carl Ring, got her life back on track after a couple gave her dinner when she was on the streets.

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.”

The lunch is set to be held at the cake shop on Saturday, December 12 from 12pm-5pm, although Michelle says there is scope to extend the time to 7pm if they are particularly busy.

The event is open to absolutely anyone, and could move to the church hall if Michelle’s plans come off.

She added: “We’re hoping to move to a bigger venue but anyone can come, whether they are homeless, struggling for money or needing a break from an abusive partner.

“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