A Christmas Day chef with a passion for cooking for big numbers has been found to serve up a festive feast.
The Salvation Army in Hemel Hempstead opens its doors each year to the cold, the old and the lonely so that they can come together to mark the special occasion.
But a spanner was put in the works of the usually slick operation when the charity’s usual chef fell ill.
After a HeraldExpress appeal, five big-hearted volunteers came forward offering to spend their Christmas morning in the kitchen at the good cause’s Waterhouse Street base.
School cook Lorna Copeman, who is not fazed by the prospect of cooking up around 180 meals, was picked by Major Tim Johnson to do the honours. He said: “A big thank you to all of those who thought about it.”
As well as in-house meals for people that arrive on Christmas Day, the charity also takes over the meals on wheels service sending hot meals out to homes with the help of volunteer drivers.
Mum of four Lorna, who works at Lockers Park School, said: “It doesn’t make a lot of difference whether you are cooking for 10 or 150 - it’s just being organised and knowing what you are doing.”
Lorna, who has worked at schools and old people’s homes over the years, started out washing up in a canteen before progressing to cooking and although she’s never been to college, she’s picked up all the food safety certificates she needs while on the job.
“It’s just something I enjoy doing and that I’m quite good at,” said Lorna, who will still enjoy Christmas Day dinner in the afternoon with her own family, including five grandsons aged from 18 months to eight years old, thanks to her daughter’s offer to roll up her sleeves and cook.