The EDP and Bernard Matthews turkey express helps flood hit families

Lowestoft Turkey Express.
Danny Hawkie handing over a frozen turkey to Pat Gleeson and Catherine Bullock.

Picture: James Bass Lowestoft Turkey Express. Danny Hawkie handing over a frozen turkey to Pat Gleeson and Catherine Bullock. Picture: James Bass

Friday, December 20, 2013
7:17 AM

More than thirty flood-hit families in Norfolk and Suffolk are set to enjoy a feast this Christmas - thanks to the Eastern Daily Press and Bernard Matthews turkey express!

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Lighthouse Inn landlord Steve Bullimore taking delivery from the Eastern Daily Press of the ten Bernard Matthews turkeys for the people of Walcott. Photo: Steve AdamsLighthouse Inn landlord Steve Bullimore taking delivery from the Eastern Daily Press of the ten Bernard Matthews turkeys for the people of Walcott. Photo: Steve Adams

We teamed up with the turkey giant to hand out 30 frozen turkeys to three of our communities worst hit by the floods of two weeks ago.

Bernard Matthews human resources director Andrew Sherwood arrived at Prospect House, home of the EDP, yesterday morning to drop off the birds.

EDP driver Danny Hawkie then delivered ten of them to The Lighthouse Inn, in Walcott, one of the areas worst his by the floods, where they were gratefully received by Lighthouse publican Steve Bullimore.

He said “a big thank you for the donation” before loading them into the freezer and indicated they were likely to be used to provide food for the people of the village in the New Year.

Councillor Penny Linden, cabinet member for communities with the turkeys for the people of Great Yarmouth. Photo: Steve AdamsCouncillor Penny Linden, cabinet member for communities with the turkeys for the people of Great Yarmouth. Photo: Steve Adams

Local flood co-ordinator Pauline Porter said a lot of the flood victims were currently not in the village – having moved to temporary housing or staying with friends.

It was likely the turkeys would be used for a free community meal when people started to return to Walcott in January when things had settled down a bit.

Mr Bullimore, whose pub was an evacuation centre during the floods, said he was prepared to provide for free staff to prepare and cook any community meal which used the turkeys.

The Walcott community meal will also use three turkeys donated by the local Bacton Superstore.

Further along the coast, a further ten turkeys were handed over to Penny Linden, cabinet member for communities at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, to be distributed to families in need.

After Yarmouth the EDP delivery van with ten turkeys left inside made its way down the A12 to Lowestoft, which had seen dozens of homes and businesses flooded.

At Lowestoft Town Hall, the home of Waveney District Council which is involved in our flood appeal, one of turkeys was given to Patricia Gleeson, 55, of St John’s Road and her mother Catherine, 78.

It will be about six months until Mrs Gleeson’s rented home will be fully habitable and at the moment she is using dehumidifiers to dry the property out.

She will be cooking the turkey for Christmas Day in a makeshift kitchen at her home. Mrs Gleeson will be joined by her mother who had rushed to her aid when the flood waters poured into her home.

Mrs Gleeson said: “Thank you very much. It is a great gesture and will make a definite difference to our Christmas Day now.”

The other nine turkeys were handed over to Carly Byham from the Lowestoft Floods, Help Our People Facebook page.

The Facebook site was set up to collect clothes, furniture, carpets, white goods, cooking equipment, televisions and other household goods to be distributed to those in need.

Most of the nine turkeys will be given to other beleaguered residents of St John’s Road.

Mrs Byham, 24 and joint manager of the appeal, said: “This is absolutely brilliant. It will make such a difference to people who have lost so much at Christmas.”

Andrew Sherwood, human resources director at Bernard Matthews, said the company had wanted to help after having to prepare two evacuation centres, at its site in Holton and at Place UK, a fruit picking farm in Tunstead, complete with emergency blankets and food, in case it was unable to get any of its staff home because of flooding or blocked roads.

He said: “Fortunately, the floods were not so bad that we were unable to get people home. Having said that, we did sadly have some workers who were flooded and we had to make alternative arrangements because some people could not get to work the next day because they had to deal with their immediate priorities.

“Had the situation been any worse, we would have been in a strong position to make sure our work force was warm and fed overnight.

“We rely on our workforce to deliver us a fantastic Christmas every year, and I’m sure that’s nothing more than any good employer would do.”

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