A MUSSELBURGH Church opened its doors to people who needed some extra help on Christmas Day by providing a festive dinner and party.

Pastor Graham Shearer, his wife Sarah and their five children decided to make their Christmas dinner an extra large one this year, inviting local people who faced being alone or were struggling financially to join them in the celebration feast.

And the whole family was onboard, with Mrs Shearer revealing their children, who are aged between 10 and one, were as delighted as they were to share the day with the community.

They opened up Musselburgh Baptist Church, where Mr Shearer is pastor, on Christmas Day and cooked up a storm for 55 guests.

Ahead of the day, Mrs Shearer said: “We are a large family of seven at Christmas anyway and to be honest it feels a bit small to us so we decided to open it up.

“We run a basics bank at the church which has really opened our eyes to the poverty in the community and what it really means to people, so we wanted to do something special.

“It is not just about people struggling financially, we are inviting people who are on their own and do not have a social network to rely on at Christmas.

“Our children are delighted by the plan. They are used to being in the community at Christmas and this year, because we are having the dinner in the afternoon, they get to open their presents earlier than usual, which has made it even more exciting for them.”

Local businesses stepped up to help provide supplies for the Christmas dinner and the church received funding of £500 from Musselburgh Area Partnership.

The family were delighted by the support from local volunteers who came forward to pitch in on the day and helped make it a great success.

Mrs Shearer said: “We have had so much support and so many people offering to get involved, which is really lovely.

“It brought together so many people who otherwise may not have got out and enjoyed a Christmas dinner and gave them a chance to socialise and spend some time with others in their community.

“What a fantastic team and what a day!”