PARTYING pensioners from Wellington will be celebrating Christmas in style this year.

Retired workers from Relyon, the town's biggest employer, are being treated to a free festive bash at Wellington Football Club.

The party is being funded completely from Relyon Social Club contributions after the company stopped the event being held on its premises.

Club chairman Chris Bullock - known as 'Bodmin' to his friends - refuses to let the tradition, which stretches back to the 1940s, die.

"I will be old one day," said the bed company veteran who has worked for Relyon for 25 years. "And I hope the parties will still be going then."

Many former employees of the world famous bed manufacturer were said to be "disgusted", last year, when it looked like the parties might end. But Beam Bridge Hotel owners John and Margaret Cole stepped in and offered to lay on the event for free.

Almost 60 partygoers enjoyed entertainment from Rockwell Green music teacher and former Relyon worker David White, in January.

A similar line-up will perform at the next party, together with Elvis Presley impersonator Dave Buttle.

And Mr Bullock said even more pensioners are expected to attend the event, which will be held at the football club from 4pm to 7.30pm, on December 21.

"It's in the centre of the town and on a Sunday, so people won't have to pay for parking or have far to travel," he said.

Talks with company bosses have so far failed to raise any cash for the bash.

"I mentioned it to them again this year, but they weren't interested," complained Mr Bullock.

However, Ian Topping, who became managing director of the company again following a management shake-up in October, hinted the company may contribute towards the party when the County Gazette contacted him yesterday.

In the meantime, current employees are being asked for donations to put some money behind the bar, so their predecessors can enjoy a festive drink on the house.

Last year, Mr Bullock raised £109 and he's hoping for more this time around.

Food for the party will be prepared by Relyon worker and part-time chef, Nigel Marsden, who caters at all the club's events.

The Beam Bridge Hotel and Cleve Country Club are among the local venues to have benefited from his culinary expertise in the past and a good spread is promised for the Christmas party.