Families gather in city to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones

NEIL RATLEY AND ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 11:25 26/12/2012
Southland Times photo
DOUG FIELD/Fairfax NZ
Paige Brown, 10, checks out the desserts at the Ascot Park hotel Christmas Lunch.
Southland Times photo
DOUG FIELD/Fairfax NZ
Peacehaven Village rest home resident Dorothy Frew, centre, is joined by her husband, Angus, and her daughter Christine Frew for Christmas lunch.

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Many residents at the Peacehaven Village rest home were visited by loved ones yesterday while others were whisked away by family members for the day.

On Christmas Day at Peacehaven Village, staff served lunch to those in their care and visiting family.

Resident Dorothy Frew was joined by her husband, Angus, and her daughter Christine Frew.

The food and the company were lovely, she said.

Christine Frew said her parents had been married for 60 years and this Christmas was especially special.

"Dad had serious surgery a while ago and we didn't think he would be here to celebrate," she said.

Mr Frew said he visited his wife twice a day every day, and that the staff at the home deserved a special thanks for all their hard work.

Joyce Sproat was being visited by her daughter and son-in-law, Lesley and Rob Campbell, of Moeraki.

Mr and Mrs Campbell said staff at the rest home had done a wonderful job allowing residents to spend a special time with their family.

"It's great to see other family members also spending time and enjoying lunch with loved ones," Mrs Campbell said.

Aucklanders Ingrid and Tuvalu Papau and their son Isaiah were in Invercargill to celebrate Christmas with Mrs Papau's family.

They had the job of picking up Mrs Papau's grandmother, Nelle Riddell, from Peacehaven.

Mrs Riddell said she was looking forward to a big family Christmas at her daughter's house.

The North Island visitors said they were looking forward to a warm, dry Christmas.

"We have heard the civil defence has issued a rain warning back home," Mrs Papau said.

Peacehaven Village nurse manager Jillian Jones said Christmas could be a bittersweet time for some families because it could be the last one they all spent together.

"Some of our residents are in palliative care, so each Christmas is special and we try and make it a special day," she said.

The Ascot Park Hotel hosted its traditional massive Christmas buffet, with more than 450 people booked in.

Tables were creaking under the weight of every conceivable type of Christmas food.

Among the happy customers were 21 members of the Elliotte family, all originally from Invercargill.

Trevor and Pam Elliotte are the senior members of the family. Their four children and nine grandchildren included daughter Sharyn Robertson, who had flown over from Australia with her children.

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"We always have a family Christmas and it's a good opportunity to get together," Mr Eliotte said.

Paige Brown, 10, was also at the meal with four members of her own family, including her granddad Rob Hammond.

She said the dessert table looked yummy. Mr Hammond said it was too much for him.

For Christmas, Paige said she got an MGP scooter, One Direction boy-band merchandise and a trip to the go-kart track.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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