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'A place where people can flourish' - church celebrates drop-in lunch sessions' anniversary

PUBLISHED: 13:26 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:26 27 September 2019

Michael Jeal, the mayor of Great Yarmouth, enjoys lunch with clients and guests 
Picture:  Rev Matthew Price

Michael Jeal, the mayor of Great Yarmouth, enjoys lunch with clients and guests Picture: Rev Matthew Price

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A church in Gorleston has celebrated ten years of its weekly drop-in lunch, The Bridge.

Bishop Jonathan helps to cut the celebration cake 
Picture: Rev Matthew PriceBishop Jonathan helps to cut the celebration cake Picture: Rev Matthew Price

The Bridge, which serves between 60 and 70 people a free three course meal each week, was founded in 2009 by a group of volunteers from St Mary Magdalene Church and Gorleston Baptist Church.

Its mission is to provide a free hot meal once a week to unwaged, vulnerable or elderly residents in the community to reduce social isolation, to encourage participation as a volunteer and increase uptake of support agencies and community involvement.

The anniversary was marked by a special thanksgiving service at St Mary Magdalene on Tuesday at which The Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, the Bishop of Lynn, gave a short address.

The service was attended by current clients and volunteers alongside a number of special guests including the mayor of Great Yarmouth, borough councillors Brian and Colleen Walker, as well as some of those who were involved when The Bridge launched in 2009.

Bishop Jonathan gives an address during the thanksgiving service 
Picture: Anna HeydonBishop Jonathan gives an address during the thanksgiving service Picture: Anna Heydon

After the service the invited guests joined clients for lunch served by Bishop Jonathan alongside Rev Matthew Price, the minister of St Mary Magdalene Church, and the regular volunteers.

Bishop Jonathan also joined Paul, one of the clients, and volunteer chef, Maggie, in cutting a celebration cake to mark the occasion.

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Louise Bullen, who is employed by St Mary Magdalene Church as The Bridge Project Manager, said: "One of the great things about The Bridge is the team of volunteers which make everything happen each week.

"The Bridge really is a community of people that come together and people are encouraged both to use the skills that they have got and to grow more."

Rev Price, said: "At St Mary Magdalene we are committed to seeking the peace and prosperity of the community in which we live and The Bridge is a really important part of that.

"I pray that, into the future, the Bridge will continue to be a place where people can flourish and which blesses the community in which we live."

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