Christmas Tradition continues at Clifton House

Christmas Tradition continues at Clifton House

Today, for the 139th year, Clifton House played host to the Benn Dinner, a Christmas tradition which was started with a charitable legacy from George Benn in 1882.  George Benn was a generous philanthropist, historian and benefactor of Belfast Charitable Society. In his Will he left the sum of £1,000 to enable the residents of Clifton House, the original Poor House and Infirmary, to gather together and have a Christmas dinner. Since then the Belfast Charitable Society have continued to support a Christmas lunch for the residents of Clifton House, in his name.

Due to ongoing restrictions, this year the donation not only supported a special Christmas dinner, but also a number of activities that residents were able to enjoy together. The event also involved the Belfast Junior Chamber of Trade, who were able to arrange a special visit from a very special person. And although Santa was not permitted inside the Home, the excitement and joy from residents to see him through the window was heart-warming.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast has always been an integral part of this annual event for over 100 years, and this year that tradition continued with the attendance of Councillor Kate Nicholl. The Lord Mayor chatted easily with residents of Clifton House through the window, helping to raise spirits following what has been another extremely challenging year for those living in care.

Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “I was delighted to be invited to attend the Benn Dinner this year and be part of such a long running event in Clifton House’s history. The sentiment of this dinner is as relevant today as it was over 130 years ago, and after such a turbulent and isolating 18 months for the residents as they dealt with Covid restrictions, I am delighted to see so many happy faces. Well done to all those involved in ensuring that the tradition continues.”

Paula Reynolds, Chief Executive of Belfast Charitable Society concluded “We are so glad that we can continue to carry out the wishes of George Benn, and provide funds to support this Christmas tradition for the elderly living here. We see every year how it helps to boost spirits and morale, not just of the residents, but also staff.  And this year was no exception”.

Belfast Charitable Society News