Published: 20:39, 22 December 2020
| Updated: 07:40, 23 December 2020
Hungry truckers stranded at Manston this evening have been tucking into freshly cooked pizzas courtesy of a local non-league football club.
With pictures of thousands of lorries and their drivers parked up at the former airport being beamed all around the world, the folks at Ramsgate Football Club decided to swing into action and fire up their ovens.
With the kitchen at the club's Southwood Stadium home lying dormant thanks to the Covid-19 suspension of grassroots football, club chairman James Lawson and a band of volunteers spent this afternoon and evening cooking around 200 of the tasty Italian treats to deliver by hand to the grateful drivers stuck at Manston.
"We have all been watching on the news today what's been happening with the lorry drivers being diverted to Manston Airport," Mr Lawson said, "and where we have not been playing, we have got a pizza kitchen and there's lots of stock left over that we haven't been using while we haven't been playing football.
"So a few of us have got together this evening and decided to cook a couple of hundred pizzas together and deliver them down to the guys at Manston.
"When we got there it was actually a little trickier than we were led to believe. We thought that we were just going to be delivering them to a few people at the gate who were going to distribute it, but they actually asked us to distribute them directly to the lorry drivers, as no one on site was officially able to."
So the for-one-night-only pizza delivery crew got to work, wandering among the HGVs and handing the freshly-baked delights to the stranded drivers in their cabs.
Mr Lawson said: "We've had some fun and games, waving down a few lorries and handing some pizzas through the windows to the guys. The lorry drivers were in very good spirits.
"The reason we did it is we want people to know that even though it's a hard time for them at the moment - worrying about not getting home for Christmas - the people in Ramsgate care about them and will go out of our way to help them.
"I think first of all they probably thought we were crazy, jumping out in front of a lorry with a box of pizza for them and passing it through their window, but once they got over the initial shock they were very grateful. Lots of thumbs-up and smiles.
"We also met the Czech ambassador on site as well, he is very concerned about his residents who are on the site, he said some of them only had bottles of water and bits, so he was pleased to see that they were getting some pizzas."
It is not the first time the people of Kent have shown great generosity towards the drivers marooned by the closure of the French border.
The Sikh community in Gravesend has rallied round to make sure truckers don't go hungry.
More than 800 free hot meals were made this afternoon by the Gravesend Gurdwara, who turned around the massive order in just under three hours.