DOZENS of pensioners who feared spending Christmas alone were given a festive meal to remember thanks to a Wearside charity.
Age UK Sunderland’s Boxing Day Lunch saw up to 40 isolated and vulnerable elderly residents enjoy a two-course traditional lunch, with carols, games and a visit from Santa.
Alan Patchett, director of the charity, said there were many pensioners in the city who spent the festive period alone, with an estimated half a million across the country.
He said: “Spending Christmas alone is often a reality for too many older people in Sunderland and life circumstances and ill health can often lead to many older people being socially isolated.”
Sponsors of the Boxing Day Lunch at the Bradbury Centre, in Stockton Road, Sunderland, included Station Taxis, the Barbour Foundation, Sainsbury’s, BT, Peter Dodd Funeral Directors, Scanlans Solicitors, the Sunderland Carpet Centre, Sybil Gibson and Anthea Watson.
Alan added: “We always ensure that as many lonely older people as possible get to spend Boxing Day with us and enjoy the festivities.
“However, as a charity we rely on the help of our volunteers and organisations in the city to ensure we have the funds to make the day special.
“We would like to thank all the local Sunderland people and organisations who have donated money and gifts to the lunch this year.
“A special thank you to Station Taxis, who are making sure that many older people across Sunderland get to us on the day as transport is a key issue for those who are socially isolated in the city.”