Gosport widow backs Christmas food appeal after help from church

From left, Carole Cossins, Maggie Day and Elizabeth Young. Picture: Paul Jacobs (143470-1)
From left, Carole Cossins, Maggie Day and Elizabeth Young. Picture: Paul Jacobs (143470-1)

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GETTING a food parcel from generous church-goers has turned around the life of a widow.

Now Debbie Guest, 53, of Gosport, is urging people to back The News’ Christmas Food Appeal and help others too.

Unemployed Debbie lost her driving instructor husband Steve, 69, in 2011.

His death started off a spiral of decline and she was eventually admitted to hospital with mental health problems.

She said: ‘I never had financial problems.

‘But the moment he died the whole world collapsed.

‘I had no money to live on, I had an injury to my leg which meant I had to give up work.’

Six months after Steve’s death she was referred to the Food Information Support Hope (Fish) team at Lee Community Church.

She started to receive a food parcel each month from the group, which relies on donations.

Debbie added: ‘It’s not just the food, they’re so kind and so understanding.

‘They treat you like a human being, not just someone who’s got no money. I felt worthless before they came round and now they’re friends. I love it when I see them.’

Debbie’s circumstances have improved since she was first referred by You Trust in 2011.

After finding a part-time job doing nine hours a week, Debbie said she is feeling better in life.

The group that helped her on the way is handing out hampers to around 20 families most in need of help this Christmas.

And Debbie said she backs The News’ appeal asking people to donate to food banks in the area.

She added: ‘I hope I will be able to pay them back by getting a bit extra from working and letting them have it.’

Carole Coussins is one of four people who volunteer at Fish.

She said: ‘At Christmas we try and get as many hampers around as possible. We need all the help we can get.’

The group works with 230 families in Gosport a month.

Where you can donate


- Sainsbury’s, Farlington n Asda, Fratton

- Tesco, Crasswell Street n Morrisons, Anchorage Park

- Morrisons, Victory Retail Park n Sainsbury’s, Commercial Road

- Salvation Army, Lake Road, Monday - Friday, 10am to 3pm

- Pompey in the Community, Anson Road, Fratton, Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm n The News, Lakeside, North Harbour


- Morrisons, Horndean n Asda, Portland Road

- Sainsburys, Hambledon Road

- Waterlooville Food Bank, Monday - 9.30am to 11.30am, Friday - 12pm to 2pm, Wecock Church, Kite Close


- Asda, Speedfields Park n Sainsbury’s, Broadcut

- Tesco, Quay Street

- Fareham and Gosport Basics Food Bank, Mon/Wed/Fri - 1pm to 3pm, Aspect House, Westbury Road, Fareham

- The News, West Street


- Morrisons, Walpole Road n Tesco, Alver Valley


- Portsdown Community Church, weekday mornings 10am to 12.30pm, The Beacon, 69-73 Meridian Centre, Havant