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Downham Market restaurant offers free lunches after Marcus Rashford campaign

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A popular West Norfolk town restaurant has shown solidarity with a national effort led by footballer Marcus Rashford by offering free meals to those who are struggling this half-term.

The Downham Tandoori Restaurant said lunches have been available for collection from the restaurant from noon to 1pm every day.

Staff have also reassured those in need that no questions or judgement will be made by the restaurant.

Downham Tandoori owner Anwar Ali is pictured on the right
Downham Tandoori owner Anwar Ali is pictured on the right

A post by the High Street eatery said: "We don't want to see any children from our community to go hungry this half-term. So we are offering free lunch time meals to anyone who needs it.

"This is nothing to do with politics but doing what we want to do to help our beautiful community."

It comes after a motion to extend free school meals over holidays during the pandemic was rejected by MPs.

Residents in need of meals in the Downham Market area have been supported by Downham Tandoori
Residents in need of meals in the Downham Market area have been supported by Downham Tandoori

Many people have expressed their gratitude to Downham Tandoori owner Anwar Ali and his team for the kind gesture.

Mr Ali said people have been coming into the restaurant every day but he was not sure of the exact numbers.

The owner added: "It's especially for those mums who may have two or three children and lost their job due to Covid, or still working long hours and struggling during half-term.

"It's heartbreaking to see people struggling and it is nice to share. I love children and the community, and I felt I had to do something.

"I think because I have lived here almost 25 years, I feel I have to help if something happens."

The meal options for children are chicken curry or chicken korma with rice. Vegetarian options are also available.

It is not the first time the restaurant has shown its support to the community during the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

During the previous national lockdown, the restaurant cooked up free meals for NHS staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with the support of donations from people.

Among those commenting on social media was Alan Bumstead who said: "Proper human spirit."

Downham resident Lynda Wiggins commented: "Lovely to hear. Wonderful restaurant and kind and caring people. Proud to have you in our town. Thank you."

And Peter Barnard said: "Good stuff guys. Shining example. Hopefully, going forward feeding the underprivileged children of the UK is not left to kind members of the community."

Teresa Ann said: "That is blooming awesome, you guys are so thoughtful but please people don’t abuse their generosity."

Paul Holmes added: "Just amazing how in times of need Downham Tandoori always pull through! Well done guys."

Morrisons has also joined the national effort to make sure no child goes without an adequate meal this half-term by providing thousands of lunchboxes to those in need.

For more on the free school meals campaign, see coverage in Friday's Lynn News this week.

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