Dinner date brings together the lonely this Christmas

Anne Moore talks to Christine Pearson and Christine Hughes at a meal organised by Age UK in Sunderland.
Anne Moore talks to Christine Pearson and Christine Hughes at a meal organised by Age UK in Sunderland.
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Christmas cheer was dished up with dinner as a party brought together people who would have otherwise been alone over the festive period.

Age UK’s Bradley Centre in Stockton Road, Sunderland, played host to 37 elderly people on Boxing Day, as a team of 12 volunteers laid on a turkey feast followed by Christmas pudding.

Martin Lewins, Bill Sanders, Elizabeth McDonald and Jimmy Lee enjoy a meal at Age UK in Sunderland.

Martin Lewins, Bill Sanders, Elizabeth McDonald and Jimmy Lee enjoy a meal at Age UK in Sunderland.

The guests then played quizzes and games, joined in carol singing and listened to Christmas-themed music.

The gathering was the 12th year the charity has laid on a Boxing Day dinner, with those attending referred to the team because they would have been without company otherwise.

Alan Patchett, director of Age UK Sunderland, said: “It was fantastic event and they had a wonderful time, but it was only made possible because of the support from our sponsors and the great work of our volunteers on the day, who came out on Boxing Day to enable other people to have a lovely day.

“Everybody had a great meal, had the chance to socialise and went away with gifts after a fantastic day.”

Everybody had a great meal, had the chance to socialise and went away with gifts after a fantastic day.

Alan Patchett

Two of the charity’s volunteer drivers joined Station Taxis to help the guests get to and from the centre.

The taxi firm was joined by Thomas Watson Surveyors, Peter Dodd Funeral Directors and Nat West Bank in sponsoring the day, which also saw presents and hamper items passed on to the visitors.

Figures released by Age UK estimates that would be 1.2 million older people in the UK lonely this Christmas.

More information on the services run by Age UK Sunderland can be found via http://www.ageuk.org.uk/sunderland/.

Audrey Thurlbeck, John Rankcom and Sylvia Drew enjoy a meal at Age UK in Sunderland.

Audrey Thurlbeck, John Rankcom and Sylvia Drew enjoy a meal at Age UK in Sunderland.

Molly Donkin and Dorris Nelson enjoy a meal at Age UK in Sunderland.

Molly Donkin and Dorris Nelson enjoy a meal at Age UK in Sunderland.