A centre worked hard to provide a day of celebration, company, festive food and gifts for elderly people who were facing Christmas Day alone.

Volunteer Centre Dorset carried out its annual tradition 'Company at Christmas', making sure local people in Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester were not alone on what is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year.

40 elderly people were invited to the centre on Christmas Day to enjoy friendly company and a day of festive celebration.

The centre has been running the initiative for 20 years, but manager Marie Waterman says this year was the best yet.

She said: "It’s easy to say that every year but this year the organising of the event was outstanding, we are so lucky to have such a great team of volunteers willing to give their time on Christmas Day.

"We are so grateful to the businesses and organisations that have sponsored and supported the event. So many have got involved this year; we received donations from Waitrose Dorchester, Magna Housing Association, Dorchester Lions, Battens Solicitors, Humphries Kirk. Taste Bistro provided the wine this year and the ladies of the Gorge Café saved their tips and provided most of the food for the food hampers.

"Sixth form students of Thomas Hardye School donated food for the hampers and gifts for the guests. Everyone went home with lots of treats and gifts, this really does help those attending feel part of a big family."

Volunteers provided an extra special festive touch with music, dancing and laughter, to give their guests a truly wonderful Christmas Day.

Marie added: "We couldn’t have managed without them, from the people that donate gifts, those that come in to wrap everything up to the essential drivers – it’s a big event to organise and Paul and Jan White, our volunteer coordinators, have been just amazing this year."

The Volunteer Centre aims to match up people who can provide company for an elderly person, and is looking for volunteers all year round.

Anyone who would like to spare a few hours talking to or visiting an elderly person can contact the centre on 01305 269214 or visit www.volunteeringdorset.org.uk