Give a gift for Christmas to those in need at Honiton hotel’s great scone-off and donation drive-through

A Christmas gift donation drive-through near Honiton on Thursday (November 24) aims to give a pick-me-up to those facing festive difficulties.

The Deer Park Country House, at Weston, near Honiton, is hosting the Great South West Scone-Off drive-through, where visitors can enjoy a cream tea in return for a donated gift suitable for Christmas.

As part of the gift drive, some 350 tickets are available for guests to tuck into a cream tea of homemade scones prepared by some of the South West’s ‘top’ patisserie chefs.

In return, guests are asked to donate an unwrapped new gift worth at least £10 – a toy for a child, or something to lift the spirits of an adult – which will be wrapped by a team of volunteer elves and distributed to those in need this Christmas.

The Great Scone-Off cream teas are served from 2.30-3.30pm or 4pm-5pm and must be booked in advance.

The hotel has teamed up with community group Inspiring Connections in a bid to support families through the ‘difficult’ festive period.

Mark Godfrey, Deer Park Country House managing director, said: “All children deserve the magic of Christmas and something special to unwrap under the tree.

“As we head into a hard winter, we wanted to support our local community and help ease the pressure on those who might need it this festive season.”

Cream tea lovers can tuck into scones with a dollop of Cornish clotted cream donated by Trewithen Dairy and Waterhouse Fayre strawberry jam, served up by a host of volunteers.


The Deer Park Country House is hosting the event.
Photo: with permission.


In 2021 Inspiring Connections delivered more than 100 hot meals on Christmas Day, supported 120 families with gifts and provided 78 meat boxes.

The community group backs Operation Rudolph – a global project that aims to support families over Christmas through donations, fundraising, presents and hampers.

Sharon Thorne, Inspiring Connections founder, said: “Honiton Foodsave has indicated that demand has increased 50 per cent compared with this time last year. There is real concern about how families will manage and the decision of ‘heat or eat’ is a real everyday issue for many.

“With Operation Rudolph, there are no complicated forms or means testing, just a simple sign-up for applicants to indicate what support is needed.

“It’s all free of charge and we know that once our customers are in a stronger position, they will give back when they can.”

She appealed for volunteers to help support Operation Rudolph before December 25.

“Even a few hours will make a huge difference to our communities,” said Sharon. “We urge people to consider their neighbours over the festive period – perhaps invite them over for Christmas dinner, share company and spread the good community vibes for all.”

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