A BARNSLEY cafe is offering free Christmas dinners for the town's lonely elderly residents.

Oak Star Cafe at The Civic is offering to foot the bill for 28 elderly people who would otherwise be alone at Christmas.

Owner Gregor Staric said: "Last week, a lady walked into our cafe just like any other customer but she didn't want any food or drink, she just wanted to have a chat.

"Dawn (who works at the cafe) spent quite some time talking to her and after the lady had left, Dawn was really upset.

"I asked her what was wrong and she said that the lady was 94 and has no-one to talk to. Her son lives in Australia and her best friend died recently.

"Later that evening, Dawn started talking about the lady again. She was obviously still upset by what she had said, so we decided to take action.

"There are a lot of elderly people in Barnsley who will be on their own at Christmas, with no family around them, no-one to talk to and nowhere to go for Christmas dinner, so we had an idea.

"We will organise a free Christmas dinner for 28 people, who would otherwise be alone.

"We want to help make Christmas day special for them. I have spoken to Barnsley Civic Trust and they have agreed to help us organise this special event."

People who would like more information should call into the Oak Star Cafe.