Port Talbot actor Michael Sheen drops in on Christmas Day lunch in Resolven
AFTER playing everyone from Tony Blair to Brian Clough, Hollywood star Michael Sheen can now add Santa to his CV.
He made a surprise appearance at a Christmas Day lunch for 60 people who otherwise would have been home alone.
The festive lunch at the Sardis Baptist Church Hall in Resolven was organised by Port Talbot nurse Caroline Ashwood, helped by a team of supporters including her mum Mary Ashwood and 15-year-old daughter Ellys.
"I wrote to Michael to ask if there was anything he could do to help," said Caroline, who works at the King's Surgery in Port Talbot Resource Centre.
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"Out of the blue on Christmas Eve I had an e-mail from him, saying he had been thinking about it and really wanted to contribute.
"He asked if I would mind him coming along and reading some Dylan Thomas. I told him yes straight away."
Michael, from Baglan, turned up just as the diners had finished singing Christmas carols.
"He pulled up a chair and sat by the Christmas tree, reading some Dylan Thomas," said Caroline. "Then he mingled and took part in the quiz.
"One old chap remarked how much he liked Dylan Thomas and said it had made his Christmas. Michael sat with him for ages, just talking. He was lovely, so down to earth."
After the party was over, Michael e-mailed Caroline to say how much he had enjoyed it and stating he wanted to be part of it again this Christmas.
"He's just amazing," she said.
Caroline first had the idea in 2011, when she was a volunteer driver for a Salvation Army Christmas Day lunch in Swansea.
She started fundraising last March, with raffles taking place in King's Surgery.
The money needed came rolling in, including raffles at King's Surgery and Riverside Surgery, which is also in the Port Talbot Resource Centre.
A group from Tesco in Port Talbot gave £100 from their Lottery syndicate, while the Towers Spa and Restaurant in Jersey Marine supplied the meal.
Two minibuses to transport the diners were provided by Sardis Baptist Church and Christchurch in Aberdare, while a teacher from Swansea's Olchfa School volunteered to drive one of them. Among those who enjoyed the meal was a woman who later phoned Caroline to say it was the first time she'd had a Christmas for seven years.
"One man in his early 30s told me he had been in and out of care homes since he was 12 and this was the first Christmas he had spent with someone," added Caroline.
"It's feedback like that which makes it all worthwhile."
As well as keeping others entertained, Michael Sheen has also been entertained himself — at the Swansea Grand panto Cinderella, which he attended with his family on Wednesday night.
Tweeting about it, ugly sister Mike Doyle — MikeDoyle Comedy — said: "It was so nice to have Michael Sheen and his family come to see our #panto @swanseagrand last night #topbloke."