CHRISTMAS in Clydebank may have been more muted than usual five months ago because of the country’s Covid restrictions – but one local charity has made sure that for more than 600 vulnerable residents, the belated festive celebrations were well worth waiting for.

Golden Friendships served upwards of 600 socially distanced dinners over six days last month to support pensioners, people with disabilities, vulnerable families and isolated individuals.

The charity’s founder Jim McLaren promised to bring some Christmas cheer to disadvantaged Bankies to ensure no one was alone or suffering during the festive season.

However, strict local Covid restrictions were enforced in the local authority area leaving Golden Friendships no choice but to postpone the Christmas party.

Jim McLaren told the Post: “We refuse to let a pandemic cancel our Christmas. We promised to deliver these at the first possible opportunity and now we have.

“I said Golden Friendships will be making Christmas happen and now we did.”

The club served a three-course dinner and gifts to a group of local residents at its Nairn Place base last week – and as an added bonus Santa was persuaded out of his summer hibernation to pay party-goers a visit.

Once all the food was eaten, people donned their best Christmas hats and played a game of bingo and were in a chance to win prizes from the raffle which included boxes of sweets, chocolates and beauty gift sets.

One resident took to social media to thank the group. They said; “Well done to the Golden Friendships team. I had a lovely day celebrating Christmas with friends. Keep up the good work.

Due to the pandemic, many Golden Friendships members have suffered from increased isolation, loneliness, food poverty and lack of one-to-one support.

Jim added: “The local pensioners and our club members had a great time.

“We had guests attending who hadn’t been outside their home since last March.

“The general feeling was gratitude to get back in amongst their friends for a chat and a few laughs.

“This was a wonderful community morale booster that I think we all needed and hopefully we are on our way to a full recovery from this awful pandemic.

“I would just like to thank everyone who contributed to the Golden Friendships Christmas dinners. Most of the dinners were kindly paid for by donations from our local community and we kept the money aside to make it the best Christmas dinner possible for them.

“I have so much more planned in the upcoming months to help as many people as we can.”