FORMER chef Emilio Dauden treated 40-plus guests to a meal at his allotment — and was blessed with sunshine just like his native Spain.
The 70-year-old (pictured) and two friends spent months clearing the allotment ready for the fresh three-course meal of a melon starter, chicken paella main and fruit salad dessert.
Guests included fellow parishioners from Wickersley St Alban’s as well as the two charities being supported — Shiloh and the Wath Salvation Army Corps.
“I wanted to bring everyone together,” said Emilio, who cooked in hotels for many years and is a familiar face to many in Rotherham from his time as a milkman.
“When I got the allotment, it was like a timber yard. I was there for three months, about 12 hours a day, to get it ready. There were three of us and we filled three or four skips.
“It was amazing to finally be able to serve the food. Everything that went wrong happened before people were there, so they didn’t notice!”
The event was the second charity effort by the St Alban’s Men’s Fellowship and raised £220.
Fellowship co-ordinator David Lewis said: “We were surrounded by lush fruit and vegetables, with sunflowers as tall as small trees as we ate and we were entertained by John Barker on the trumpet.
“Carol Makin had made a delicious fruitcake, decorated with a gardening theme, and it was a pleasure to have Shaun Bingham from the Salvation Army with us.
“He spoke about the work they do and expressed his gratitude to Emilio for the help he had previously offered.”
Emilio, who moved to Britain in his mid-20s and lives at Rawmarsh, raised more than £3,000 three years ago when he and daughter Katy trekked the 500-mile pilgrimage El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Spain.