An Ilfracombe Michelin-starred chef and the community have joined forces to deliver hot meals to those in need after blizzards shut down parts of the town.

The food was delivered around Ilfracombe in Darren's Land Rover. Picture: Kevin CarrThe food was delivered around Ilfracombe in Darren's Land Rover. Picture: Kevin Carr

Thomas Carr, who owns The Olive Room and Seafood and Grill restaurants, and his team decided to stay on late last night and cook hot food for vulnerable people trapped by the snow.

An appeal on Facebook saw a dedicated band of volunteers come forward to lend a hand, including Darren and Nicola Clarke, who used their 4x4 to deliver the hot soup, bread and fruit to around 35 families and individuals.

The decision had been taken to close both restaurants early because of the bad weather, but the kitchen staff stayed on to prepare the extra food.

Rich Evans, Thomas Carr’s business partner, thanked everyone who had helped, including Vicki Jephcote of On the Doorstep, whose connections made it possible to identify those in need.

Thomas Carr loads the food into Darren Clarke's 4x4 to take it to people around Ilfracombe affected by the snow. Picture: Kevin CarrThomas Carr loads the food into Darren Clarke's 4x4 to take it to people around Ilfracombe affected by the snow. Picture: Kevin Carr

And he praised duty manager Sam Barnes and the team at Ilfracombe Tesco, who donated fruit and vegetables.

Rich said: “All we had was willing participants, the ingredients, the chefs and social media.

“It meant that we could give people enough to see them through a couple of days. Today we still have the weather, so we are going to post on Facebook to see if there are still willing drivers and people that need a warm meal.”

Darren Clarke said he and Nicola had realised there would be vulnerable people such as the elderly or single parents with young children who just would not be able to get out because of the weather.

Preparing hot food at Thomas Carr's restaurant for people in Ilfracombe trapped by the weather. Picture: Kevin CarrPreparing hot food at Thomas Carr's restaurant for people in Ilfracombe trapped by the weather. Picture: Kevin Carr

He said: “We went to six or seven locations around town, which included Slade, which was difficult to get to. It was icy underneath and wind-swept.

“Kevin from Seafood came out with my other half and they were the two trying to find the locations – it was a bit like and Anneka Rice treasure hunt.”

Vicki of On the Doorstep, which provides essentials to those in need around the town, such as toiletries and household items, said Charmain Lovett had contacted her to see if she could help with her wide list of contacts.

Vicki said: “I thought it was amazing what they were doing – the great thing about Ilfracombe is the huge sense of community spirit, we will do anything to help each other.”

* If you can help out again this evening, either by driving, offering ingredients or know of anyone in need, get in touch via the Thomas Carr Seafood and Grill Facebook page.



* If you know of anyone who needs help with food, toiletries, toys or basic household items, contact the On the Doorstep Facebook page.