Royal assent for charity

A CHARITY had a special visitor when the Duchess of Cornwall dropped in to see its work.

Her Royal Highness witnessed first hand what goes on at Emmaus on Queen Street in Mossley when she toured on Tuesday, May 3.

It also had diners at its Big Jubilee Lunch doing a double take as they could hardly believe their eyes.

The Duchess’ visit was kept hush hush but many members of the public spotted the motorcade travelling through the area as she made her way to Mossley.

When she arrived at Emmaus, Her Royal Highness joined a special moment as Emmaus’ whole community and local volunteers got back together for a shared meal.

The charity held its first Big Lunch as a community celebration in early 2020, weeks before the global pandemic, but the Jubilee Lunch, held in the Mossley group’s 25th year as one of five across the UK offering a home, work and individual support to people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, turned extraordinary.

Arriving at Emmaus in Mossley

The Duchess of Cornwall, Royal Patron of Emmaus UK, was met and hosted by Gary Barton, one of 26 companions who live and work at Emmaus Mossley.

He said: “After visiting Clarence House last November, it was a real pleasure to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to my home for this special Big Jubilee Lunch.

“For all companions, volunteers and everyone involved at Emmaus Mossley, this day was a very proud moment and a fitting tribute to everyone who has supported our charity over the past 25 years.

“Our whole community and all visitors had a fantastic day.

“I showed Her Royal Highness around the Emmaus Mossley Secondhand Superstore and introduced her to fellow companions and volunteers.

“As Royal Patron of Emmaus, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has met many companions and it was great that she took the time to attend this Big Jubilee Lunch to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary.”

The Duchess of Cornwall met Emmaus companions and volunteers, plus Big Jubilee Lunch organisers, who are planning community events in the area this summer.

Joined by local people who have been nominated as Platinum Champions for their good work in the community and Mossley-based Global Grooves, who will perform as part of the Platinum Pageant, the event built excitement about what is to come this summer ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on June 2-5.

Her Royal Highness also met volunteers who are reupholstering donated chairs and recycling fabric to make bunting in preparation for a second Big Jubilee Lunch at the centre, planned for June.

A tour of the charity’s bric-a-brac donations highlighted a low cost treasure trove of crockery and materials perfect for Big Lunch events.

The Big Lunch, running annually since 2009, invites people to come together across the UK to celebrate and get to know their neighbours and communities better on the first weekend in June. The Duchess has been Patron since 2012 and supports The Big Jubilee Lunch as an official part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Peter Stewart, executive director of the Eden Project in Cornwall, home of The Big Lunch idea, said: “Today celebrates everything The Big Jubilee Lunch is about; people, community, connection – an opportunity to give back with a lovely sense of relaxed occasion.

“It’s a privilege to meet the companions here at Emmaus and wonderful to see our Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall enjoying one of our very first Big Jubilee Lunches this year.

“Now it’s time for the rest of the country to get planning as we invite the nation to join in the fun on June 2-5 in this very momentous year.”

The Big Lunch creates a moment for people to support the causes they care about – from saying thank you to volunteers and taking time to connect with neighbours, to raising funds for good causes.

Annually raising an average of £8 million for good causes, with more than 70 per cent staying in the local area, The Big Jubilee Lunch is an opportunity to give back while also celebrating together in communities.

Royal Voluntary Service Platinum Champion nominees also joined in the fun, enjoying food and conversation together with Emmaus volunteers and Big Lunch organisers from the local area. Nominated for giving back to society, they will find out soon if they have been shortlisted to receive a Platinum Champion award in one of eight categories to be celebrated at Big Jubilee Lunch events across the UK next month.

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