Catering team 'save Christmas' after power goes out ahead of community festive dinner

The catering team
The catering team

Chefs were left without power to cook Christmas turkeys for the community after an untimely black out as they prepared a festive meal.

The catering team at South Elmsall's Westfield Centre were cooking Christmas lunch for 70, when the power cut out at around 11.30am yesterday.

People still enjoyed their festive lunch.

People still enjoyed their festive lunch.

Their ovens turned off, the lights went out and the Christmas tree was plunged into darkness, as guests began to arrive.

Clare Baxter, clerk to South Elmsall Town Council, said: "It was a nightmare and sent everyone into a bit of a flap at first.

"But the catering team saved the day in the end by setting up a makeshift kitchen and keeping everything going.

"It brought all the staff and community together."

Pretoria Social Club, over the road, offered to help the centre cook the turkeys.

But, as staff rushed round the building, they spotted one circuit of electricity in a classroom space at the centre, which had remained in tact.

Thinking quickly, catering manager Julie Lockett and her team ran extension cables from the power sockets and set up a make-shift kitchen with mircowaves and portable hobs, to continue with the dinner the best they could.

Northern Powergrid were called out to the problem, and the power was restored at 1.30pm.

Ms Baxter said: "The dinners were quite delayed but everyone just kept smiling through it.

"The staff did brilliantly, they just improvised and tried to make it so that people who were dining weren't aware of what was happening.

"Well done to Julie and her team who kept it going and saved Christmas. People still said the dinner was lovely."

The event, which was one of four Christmas dinners for more than 250 people that the centre has prepared this festive period, finished off with a visit from Father Christmas.