Christmas dinner served up to Sunderland's elderly thanks to charity's team of helpers

A Christmas dinner brought delight to Wearside’s elderly as a team of volunteers ensured they did not go without this festive time.

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 3:08 pm
Updated Friday, 27th December 2019, 10:29 am
Sunderland Mayor David Snowdon and Mayoress Dianne Snowdon help share the Age UK Boxing Day dinner, pictured with David Lawson.

Their day began as volunteers, including some members of the charity’s staff who used their own day off to support the effort, collected the guests from their homes and presented them with a hamper.

They then settled into the party itself, with a quiz and raffle held before a turkey dinner and Christmas pudding or chocolate cake was served.

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Sunderland Mayor David Snowdon pulls a Christmas cracker with Margaret Taylor at the Age UK Boxing Day dinner.

Elvis tribute act Michael Wheetman then entertained, with Mayor of Sunderland Councillor David Snowdon and mayoress Councillor Dianne Snowdon helping to make the diners welcome.

The partygoers were then given a lift back home, with a picnic of sandwiches and treats made up for their tea.

The elderly invited along to the annual event were existing visitors to the centre or people who were referred to the event by its projects.

Donna Hepple, the branch’s finance manager, helped organise the day.

She said: “We’ve had some really lovely compliments from them.

“They’ve said what a wonderful time they have had and how they are amazed that it has been such a full day.

“It’s been a great day and it feels good to be able to help people who would have otherwise been on their own.

“I just want to say that our volunteers are the lifeline of this organisation, not just today, but across the year.

“As we go into the New Year, we will be looking to recruit more volunteers, if anyone would like to get involved, we would love to hear from them.”

The branch runs a series of clubs, advice groups for help with issues such as benefits and dementia, as well as a host of regular activities and events to bring people together.

Befriending groups, including one via phone and another which involves visits, are among the services it offers.

More information about its work can be found through its website, www.ageuk.org.uk/sunderland/ and it can be called on (0191) 514 1131.