A RHYL resident has organised a Christmas Eve event providing those who are homeless or in poverty with food and other necessities for the third successive year.

Steve Ridyard, who owns Peter Ridyards Second Hand Dealers in the town, is leading an effort to make Christmas more bearable for those less fortunate, with this year’s event being held in St Thomas’ Church, Rhyl.

Steve, 40, coordinated similar events on Christmas Eve in 2019 and 2020, which took place in his shop and Rhyl Town Hall respectively.

He has been inspired to give something back after serving two years and two months in prison, during which time his brother Peter died in a car accident, which gave him a fresh perspective on life.

Rhyl Journal: Peter Ridyard, Steve's late brother, with his son, OliverPeter Ridyard, Steve's late brother, with his son, Oliver

Steve said: “Its just to continue showing a bit of kind-heartedness, really. There’s a lot of people out there who haven’t got a lot.

“For anyone in prison, it’s difficult, but to have a loss as well… it’s had a massive impact on my mental health, but in life, you can either crack on or give up. If you’re motivated, it keeps your mind off the silly side (of life).

“I’d never lost anyone (before Peter’s death). I was in the safest place when I was in custody, which gave me two years to think about my actions and their consequences. It was just about having a clear head; I made good use of the time.

“People who’ve got the experience can tell a better story and give better advice because they’ve been there and done it. It’s what you do to carry on.

“If you can change one person’s life, that could be a ripple effect.”

Last year’s Christmas Eve event also raised more than £1,000 for various charities and causes, including the Salvation Army, the North Wales Women's Centre in Rhyl, and numerous food banks in the area.

Proceeds this year will go to many of the same places, with free hot and cold food, clothes, toiletries and toys all being offered to those in need.

Steve added: “I think it’ll be more Christmassy in a church – my ideas in my head are getting choir singers and lots of different people on board!

“Gloria Lambert (The Pit Stop Mobile Catering) is going to be attending as well to let us use the burger van, so there’ll be hot dogs and burgers, and the church are going to make soup inside.

“Morrisons have got involved again this year, so there’ll be toys and hygiene gift packs (towels, deodorants, etc.), and last year we had a lot of donations of clothing, scarves, hats, coats; it’s all free.

“They’re just little everyday bits that we take for granted; it could be really important for somebody.”

This year’s event at St Thomas’ will run from approximately 11am until 4pm, with all donations of either money or goods welcome.