A Christmas Day to Remember at Lagan Valley Vineyard Church as Star Chef Suzie Lee Serves Up Fayre

10th January 2024

Culinary cooking hero Suzie Lee along with volunteers from Lisburn based Lagan Valley Vineyard Church pulled out all the stops to ensure those who are isolated or experiencing loneliness had a Christmas Day to remember. Together with the South Eastern Trust’s Safe and Well Team, the afternoon was hailed a great success as friendships were formed over fantastic food and conservation.

Winner of BBC’s national cookery competition, ‘Best Home Cook’, Suzie explained how she wanted to serve the local community the only way she knew how, through the “medium of food.”

“Bringing people together to just spend time together on a day that the country shuts down for can feel overwhelming and isolating for people. I was put into contact by Lisburn Foodbank with the Compassion Pastor, Yvette Wilkinson, of Lagan Valley Vineyard Church and the rest was history.

“The event could not have gone ahead without the overwhelming generosity on so many levels from Yvette, the support of the volunteers of the Lagan Valley Vineyard Church, my friends and family and the local businesses. I cannot convey enough thanks and gratitude to everyone who was involved and the businesses and organisations who so generously supported the event.”

“I hope that this is the start of something and I can do even more events like this throughout the year.”

Compassion Pastor at Lagan Valley Vineyard Church Yvette Wilkinson described how it was a “total joy” to “offer our church home venue to Suzie and friends as she brought her dream to life.”

“The food was prepared with love and the tables set with beautiful details by many kind people. We just allowed the room to relax and feel like a warm home with gentle conversation and moments of fun, it all felt like a gift. It was quite moving seeing people enjoy genuine happy company rather than be at home alone on Christmas Day. Our families just naturally mingled with people who had come solo and they enjoyed each other, with all ages together. It was probably one of the most beautiful expressions of local community we’ve had the joy of seeing.”

Speaking on behalf of the South Eastern Trust’s Caring Communities Safe and Well team Lynn Shields added, “This was a great opportunity to offer to those isolated and lonely during a difficult time of year. Between Lagan Valley Vineyard Church, Suzie Lee and her team and the other organisations and businesses involved, there was tremendous effort and planning that happened to make this day a success.”