The organisers of the new Big Sunday Lunch in Horrabridge have thanked everyone who turned out to make their first event a success.

Jill and Tom Palmer, members of the Horrabridge Love Your Neighbour community who live in Walkhampton, wanted to bring their cooking prowess to Horrabridge and encourage families to come together and enjoy one another’s company over a free afternoon meal. Donations are welcome purely to help cover the cost of the food and to put towards future lunches.

They approached methodist pioneer and community worker Ali Mansfield of the Horrabridge Love Your Neighbour church to discuss making the event a reality, which it became on Sunday when the event was run for the first time, seeing a turnout of over 40 people of all ages.

Those attending enjoyed, beef stew (with meat from local company Dartmoor Meatbox) and buttery mash or vegetable lasagne for the main course and had a choice for pudding from three lemon cheesecakes, apple crumble and custard or chocolate fudge cake — all of which were donated.

Tom said: ‘The turnout was fantastic, really really good. Awareness of the event had a good push through social media channels and the local school. There was a really good range of people with everyone from eight months to 80 years old. We had no idea how many people would show, we hoped we would get a decent turnout but we were blown away. The hall was almost full, there were only a handful of seats left. It was good to meet new people and rekindle with those we hadn’t seen in a while too.

‘I didn’t leave the kitchen all afternoon! We had hardly any food left and what was remaining went to local families with Ali’s help.’

In addition to enjoying a two-course meal, everyone in attendance also enjoyed music and board games.

Tom added: ‘People enjoyed a bit of old school Guess Who? and a few games of Beetle too, which is involves pieces of paper and dice. There are numbers which correspond to bits of the beetle you are tasked to build. Players get to work building their respective parts and when done they shout beetle to win; every table was playing that. It’s like a sanitised version of bingo.

‘Games are great fun as people enjoy doing something fun and they help to keep children entertained. Hopefully we can get Jenga for next time. For music, we’re also keen to have a local band play for everyone in the future.’

Tom, Jill and Ali have provisionally planned to schedule another Big Sunday Lunch for after Easter next month, however this is yet to be confirmed. They would also like to do other lunches beyond.

Tom said: ‘Next time we will share the menu in advance but the plan is, to do a big pot of one thing with a veggie option again.’

Tom also thanked Dartmoor Coffee, a microbusiness based in Horrabridge who donated free coffee for everyone to enjoy.