Doug’s lunch brings yearly cheer

By Cobram Courier

Doug’s Christmas Day lunch, an event organised by a dedicated committee and under the auspice of Cobram Community House, again provided a festive meal on Christmas Day for more than 80 older people who would otherwise have been alone on Christmas Day.

The 2019 lunch was a huge success and participants delighted in each other’s company as they played a few social games and enjoyed a traditional Christmas Day lunch together. Santa made his usual visit handing out lollies and Christmas cheer.

As a mainstay event, which has been running for about 25 years, Doug’s Christmas Day Lunch first started with a showing of compassion and kindness from a local couple.

In the 1990’s local resident Doug McCarthy, who lived a quiet life with his blind wife, decided to invite other lonely people he knew to share Christmas Day lunch with him and his wife.

After several years and the death of his wife, the number of people attending got too high for his house and too taxing on Mr McCarthy and so the event was transferred to the Cobram Community House.

The community house committee felt that it was a worthwhile community event to support and a committee of volunteers was formed to fundraise and run the event. Two prominent drivers of the event at that time were Debbie Dopper and Bev Anderson.

After several more years the space was not big enough again and new premises were found at Cobram Bowling Club. By this time, Cobram hospital had come on board to provide the hot two-course meal at a charge.

When Mr McCarthy passed the lunch was renamed in his honour.

Numbers attending this event grew up to about 120 on an annual basis until other farming/drought groups started to run similar Christmas Day functions in 2016. Doug’s Christmas Day lunch now has yearly attendances of 70 to 90.

This day could not happen without the help of the Cobram community; the volunteers, Cobram Bowling Club, Cobram hospital and the much-valued financial sponsors.

Also, this year we were lucky to have the children and carers from Punt Road Kinder and Childcare who made us some table decorations and placemats.