University comes to the aid of the party

Students' Association president Patrick O'Hare serves tea at the old people's Christmas lunch.
Students' Association president Patrick O'Hare serves tea at the old people's Christmas lunch.

ST Andrews University has been praised for stepping in at the 11th hour to save the annual Christmas treat for senior citizens organised by the town’s community council.

Disaster struck when the original venue of St Andrews Town Hall was plunged into darkness after it experienced an electricity power cut less than an hour before the scheduled start of the event.

The traditional treat is organised annually by the recreation committee of the council and the hall was beautifully decorated, ready to receive invited guests, said co-convener Marysia Denyer.

She added: ”Food was in the ovens and we were ready for the off when the power was lost. Someone had to make the decision to either cancel the event or find another venue.”


Kyffin Roberts, chairman of the community council, contacted Niall Scott, director of communications with St Andrews University - he is a co-opted member of the council - to see if he could help. He arranged for its Lower College Hall to be used and informed the janitorial staff of the council’s desperate plight.

Once the new setting was confirmed, it was all hands to the pump as everything was moved - lock, stock and barrel - across town to St Salvator’s Quadrangle.

More than 120 people enjoyed the event and the programme of music and entertainment and thanks were also expressed to the local shops and businesses who donated items for the prize draw.

Mrs Denyer concluded: ”I would just like to say we will be ever indebted to the staff, students and janitorial team of the university and Madras and St Leonards School pupils for helping us out, especially when we thought all was lost.”


Mr Roberts added: ”We wish to thank the university for coming to the rescue. It was an amazing effort that captured a real Christmas and community spirit.

“Inevitably there were some senior citizens who did not get the opportunity to join in the celebrations. We would like to apologise to those who were unable to attend owing to the late change of venue.”

Mr Scott said: ”It was a real pleasure to have the chance to help out.

‘‘The community council put so much work into preparing and organising the treat and it would have been such a shame if all that effort had gone to waste.”