A PORTSMOUTH chef will be giving up his Christmas morning to cook for people who have nobody else to see on Christmas Day.
Burger van owner Billy Willet, 56, owns the Happy Eater burger van which takes pride of place at the southern end of Commercial Road every day.
This year, he’s going to open the van between 8am and 11am on Christmas Day to feed the homeless and lonely a free breakfast.
Billy has been cooking up Christmas breakfasts in Portsmouth ever since he started running the burger van – and says that the rise in rough sleeping in the city is clear to see.
He explained: ‘I have been doing this for the past five years now.
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‘There are so many people in Portsmouth who are homeless at the moment, and it honestly seems to get worse every single year.
‘Last year, for example, we had 47 people come on down to the van, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more people this year.
‘It’s crazy to think how many people there are out on the streets, even just in Commercial Road and the surrounding area.’
Billy will be cooking up a free breakfast for everyone who comes down to the van in Commercial Road on December 25 – giving those who would otherwise be lonely on Christmas Day the chance to sit down with a hot meal and spend time with others.
He explained: ‘My colleague and I will be cooking a full breakfast for them to enjoy on the morning, and we’ll give them a present to go away with as well.
‘What’s really important is that this isn’t just for homeless people either – if anyone is on their own this Christmas then I would urge them to come on down and say hello.
‘There is one woman in her 70s who came along last year, and she never stopped smiling the whole time. Seeing something like that is really what makes this so worthwhile.
‘Seeing them all laughing and chatting together is just so heartwarming.
‘But it never ceases to amaze me just how much attention this gets – and I think that shows just how many people would otherwise have nothing to do and nobody to talk to on Christmas Day.’
All leftover food will then be taken by Billy up to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.