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Baker’s spectacular iced gingerbread house raising money for city’s homeless

PUBLISHED: 11:38 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:59 10 December 2017

Owner John 'Grimsby' Watt with the gingerbread house he has made at Pye Baker which is to be raffled to raise funds for The Peoples Picnic. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Owner John 'Grimsby' Watt with the gingerbread house he has made at Pye Baker which is to be raffled to raise funds for The Peoples Picnic. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

A baker who experienced homelessness as a young man is giving back to those in need by donating food to the People’s Picnic group and raising funds through the sale of a spectacular iced gingerbread house made at his Norwich bakery.

Owner John 'Grimsby' Watt with the gingerbread house he has made at Pye Baker which is to be raffled to raise funds for The Peoples Picnic. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOwner John 'Grimsby' Watt with the gingerbread house he has made at Pye Baker which is to be raffled to raise funds for The Peoples Picnic. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

John Watt, known as Grimsby, runs Pye Baker on Dereham Road which bakes and delivers high-quality artisan bread and cakes for shop customers and local businesses and is keen to offer his help to the community movement which feeds the hungry and homeless in Norwich and which relies entirely on volunteers and donations.

The group provides hot meals on Norwich’s Haymarket twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays and also donates much-needed supplies to those in need.

“We have sent our leftovers to the People’s Picnic for the last two years and I regularly go to the Haymarket and give out bread and cakes.

“I talk with the people there and have made some really lovely friends,” said Grimsby, whose nickname reveals where he originally hailed from and who has run Pye Baker for nearly 10 years.

“When I was in my early 20s I got myself into a bit of a mess and ended up on the streets in London. I spent a couple of nights sleeping in a stairwell of some flats.

“I was very lucky – a friend took me in and helped me through it. It was a long time ago and it makes you stronger when you realise that everything you do has consequences – it makes you grow up.

“It also makes you realise that sometimes, people just need a bit of a hand and someone to talk to.”

You can bid on the gingerbread house, complete with white chocolate glittering Christmas tree and a chocolate sleigh – current bids stand at £70 – by going in to Pye Bakery at 132 Dereham Road and placing your bid with staff.

Bidders must be able to collect their house on December 23 at 2pm.

Find out more about the People’s Picnic at www.facebook.com/thepeoplespicnicnorwich where you can also find out how to donate time, food, supplies or cash donations.

There is also a link to the group’s Amazon wishlist from the Facebook page which gives people a chance to buy gifts for those who need them most.

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