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TOPIC: 'I've invited a stranger for Christmas'

'I've invited a stranger for Christmas' 24 Dec 2017 21:44 #5423

  • Paul-UB40
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24 December 2017

This Christmas, a tree in Halifax, West Yorkshire, has three presents among the others under its branches, each labelled "George Stubbs".
Last year George ate his Christmas dinner in a centre for people alone during the festive season. At 83, he has no family left since his wife died five years ago.

But on Christmas Day, Mark Richardson will drive to George's house to pick him up, while Mark's family will be waiting at home, looking forward to tucking into turkey and mince pies with George - a man Mark met just a few months ago.

"It's been a big year for me," says Mark, 38. "In March I was made redundant after 20 years in the same place."

He decided to fulfil a lifelong dream by opening a cafe in the Piece Hall in Halifax.

"My granddad James has always been my mentor, and I looked up to him. He was really looking forward to seeing the cafe," Mark says. However, James died three days after opening day.

"My mum told me the news while I was working. He never saw the cafe."

Just two hours after Mark heard the news about his grandfather, an elderly man came to the cafe.

"He had a coffee and a brownie - there were crumbs on his jumper. I remember him even though it was packed. His name is George."
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'I've invited a stranger for Christmas' 25 Dec 2017 13:21 #5427

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There is some very interesting history surrounding Halifax Piece Hall and going further back in the centuries prior to the development of the cloth trade, which it symbolizes and the area might well have been where it all started. I have been there a few times, done some good hill walking and got some books there in my student days, some of my best days, good memories mostly. I say got because they were giving some away at one point, handy when you are flat broke. Really nice place to have a cafe I reckon. Thanks for pricking my memory with this nice story at Christmas. I reckon they'll have a great day together :)
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