People from across Dorset have been paying tribute to local food charity champion Tony Gibbons from Drimpton, West Dorset, who died recently.

The 82-year-old former teacher, designer and restauranteur founded the Friendly Food Club in 2005 and spent his retirement running weekly cooking workshops to improve the confidence and diet of struggling families, whilst learning about nutrition and having fun all at once. His ambition was to encourage children to persuade their parents to shop smart and to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Tony Gibbons with his Lottery Award

During the pandemic he, along with his team of volunteers, provided free boxes of ingredients and recipes for healthy meals and online cookery courses to more than 4,500 struggling Dorset families through the foodbanks and community centres. As a result, he won a National Lottery Award for Education in 2020.

Despite his age, Tony’s death was unexpected and a shock to all who knew him. Tony had recently become a great grandfather and was still playing squash.

Cllr Laura Miller, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services at Dorset Council said:

“Tony’s work has been a real inspiration. The passion and drive to help those in need and bring people together through food and cooking was endless and selfless. The work he has done for people in Dorset, especially throughout the pandemic when so many organisations joined forces as part of the Dorset Together initiative, is testament that the community spirit here is still very much alive.”

The Friendly Food Club team have vowed to continue Tony’s work to ensure that his legacy will live on.

Donations can be made to The Friendly Food Club via

For more information contact Liz Guilmant-Cush

Friendly Food Project

[email protected]

07842 133359


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