Matt has been Managing Director at Guildford based IT company Unigold 2000 for more than twenty-seven years, having previously worked with British Airways and ABN Amro during a career that has combined first class service principles with some serious IT skills.

Business achievements notwithstanding, it is Matt’s astonishing charity work that we asked him to focus on for this article, because for the past few years, the Gaskin family have been providing Free Christmas Lunches for those that might otherwise miss out.

This year, Matt and his family, wife Marta, daughters Mia-Isabella and Miki, will cook, serve, and deliver over 500 Free Christmas lunches across Guildford and the surrounding area.

As Matt explains, the idea grew out of a family tradition.

‘’We always set a spare place at our Christmas table, either for someone who passed away that year or for a stranger passing by. Some time ago, our daughter Mia-Isabella said that it was silly to have an empty place when there was always food left over. She suggested that we offer the place to someone alone and elderly, or homeless, it sounded like a great idea, so the next year we shared our Christmas lunches with three strangers.

Then five years ago our daughter pointed out that there must be other people who would like to be invited and it was then that my wife Marta suggested a Christmas Day lunch in the Jacobs Well Village Hall, which has a capacity of 100.’’

Matt, an excellent chef does all the cooking himself, with the rest of the family helping with service and the all-important veg preparation…and the washing up!

 “The numbers have grown dramatically since we first started, and there are lots of reasons why people might join us, they might be lonely, recently bereaved, or just lacking the wherewithal to prepare a hot Christmas lunch.’’

What about the cost?

‘’We have some great supporters that help with deliveries, ingredients, and manpower. The meals are completely free to those that need them, and we deliver anywhere within ten miles of Guildford.

People are exceptionally generous with their time and supplies, it takes a team to deliver more than 500 individual servings of roast turkey with ‘all the trimmings’, and mince pies and Christmas cake.

Details can be found on our Free Christmas Lunch website, the bottom line is that my family and myself enjoy the hard work, especially because we know how well received our efforts are.’’

Thanks for taking a minute with us Matt, and well done to you and the family, making a real difference for local people this, and every other Christmas.