Older people enjoy Christmas cheer

Age UK's Victoria Dunn joins Freemason's John Watts and Gordon Finch, who will be hosting a Christmas lunch for service users.
Age UK's Victoria Dunn joins Freemason's John Watts and Gordon Finch, who will be hosting a Christmas lunch for service users.

Elderly people in South Tyneside came together to enjoy a charity Christmas dinner - and make new friends.

Age UK and the South Shields Freemasons joined forces to hold a Christmas dinner event at the Masonic Hall in South Shields yesterday.

The event aimed to bring festive cheer to around 40 of the borough’s lonely elderly people, by holding a Christmas lunch and entertainment event.

South Shields Freemasons were inspired to hold the lunch after hearing about the Age UK South Tyneside campaign - backed by the Gazette - called No One Should Have No One.

The campaign aims to tackle loneliness by encouraging the public to volunteer to help isolated elderly people.

Victoria Dunn, campaign coordinator at Age UK South Tyneside, said: “We’re extremely grateful to the Freemasons in South Shields and in particular Gordon, who came forward to offer their support to host a Christmas dinner for 40 lonely and isolated older people after seeing the No One Should Have No One campaign.

Many people believe that the only risk of the winter weather is getting cold, but older people can often become or feel socially isolated throughout the winter months as they are unable to get out and about due to bad weather or may not have any family or friends to support them. This is an excellent example of how we can come together as a community to provide support to those in need.”

Assistant provincial grand master for South Shields Freemasons John Watts said: “I am delighted that the local Masonic lodge has been able to assist Age UK South Tyneside by hosting the lunch for isolated older people in the borough. As a community organisation we are always looking for opportunities to support the wider community.”