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Blackfriars community activist invites 900 of her neighbours for a ‘Big Lunch’ – before setting off on 170-mile walk

A well-known community activist has invited all 900 of her neighbours for lunch, before setting off a 170-mile walk around England in a bid to highlight community projects up-and-down the country.

Carole Wright, 52, of Peabody Square, Blackfriars, set off on the long journey from her estate on May 14 for two weeks, where she will end up on June 2 to host a meal for her neighbours.

Explaining the trip, Carole said: “We’re going to seventeen towns in seventeen days, so we’re hoping that the walk will encourage others to do their own ‘Big Lunch’.

“It’s just a way for people to meet other people that they never would.”

The initiative, an idea from the Eden Project, encourages people to get to know their neighbours by hosting a lunch on the first weekend of June.

Carole has been joined in her walk by Laura Graham, 35, a fellow community activist from Northampton, as part of ‘Team England’.

“I hadn’t realised how lonely I was and how disconnected I felt from the people and places around me,” said Laura, speaking of the time prior to organising her first Big Lunch.

“It was amazing what we achieved over a quick chat and a jam sandwich. Suddenly people were talking about cleaning up the area where we live.”

The pair were helped in delivering the invitations by fan-favourite of the Great British Bake Off, Manon Lagreve.

Manon will herself be attending a Big Lunch in north London, she told the News.

However, she added, she doesn’t fear bringing her bakes to the Big Lunches she attends – as nobody could be as fierce a critic as the show’s co-judge, Paul Hollywood.

Peter Stewart, the executive director of the Eden Project, said:  “Our amazing walkers are heading out to connect with people at the heart of the UK’s communities and invite everyone to take a simple step to come together for a Big Lunch.

“We know there is appetite to close the distance and get to know each other better.”

A free pack to help people start their own Big Lunch, alongside further information, can be downloaded at www.biglunch.co.uk.

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