Each year, Eton’s catering team at Bekynton rustles up a joyful Christmas Tea Party for residents in our community.

Christmas! ‘Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart

Washington Irving

Last week, in lieu of hosting this annual party, 10 teams of students and staff went out into the wider community to deliver festive treats. It was quite a sight to see so many red bags being packed for residents in Eton, Windsor and Slough. With 115 gift bags loaded onto minibuses or clutched in the hands of a volunteer infantry on a misty Tuesday afternoon, we set out to deliver. Personally visiting the houses of retired Eton staff and seeing how excited they were to receive them was heart-warming.

The festive gift bags included turkey sandwiches, pigs in blankets and Christmas cakes, delivered to former dames, retired housemasters, and others with ties to the school. Students stayed to chat and were grateful for the opportunity to make people happy at this time of the year.

My Christmas picnic has just been dropped off. I was expecting a box with a sandwich and a cake to have with my afternoon cup of tea. Instead I have been given a veritable feast. Such a lot of thought and organisation went into this. Thank you so much for the lovely surprise.

Local resident

We would like to thank all the staff involved for their contributions, and of course to all of the volunteers. In particular, we are grateful to the Bekynton staff who designed and packed these wonderful bags, without whom the deliveries would not have been possible.

To all past and present Eton staff and friends, and to those reading, we wish you a very ‘Merry Christmas!’