Elderly pray for a Christmas miracle

Christmas Day dinner is cancelled but Jean Sanderson (left) and Kathleen Thorpe hope for a miracle. S061114-115TW
Christmas Day dinner is cancelled but Jean Sanderson (left) and Kathleen Thorpe hope for a miracle. S061114-115TW
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Seventy elderly people who party together on Christmas Day are praying for a miracle because some now risk spending the day alone in their own homes.

Broad Street Methodist Church volunteers have sacrificed part of their own Christmas Day celebrations for the last 40 years to give the elderly a festive dinner with carol singing, but they have been forced to cancel this year.

Widow Jean Sanderson (84), from Pinchbeck, said: “It’s awful news. We have nowhere else to go.”

Jean and her pal, Kathleen Thorpe (70), are pinning their hopes on a miracle – that someone will rescue the celebrations.

“Surely there should be somebody kind enough to help?” said Jean. “There’s plenty of kind people in Spalding.”

Devastated Kathleen, from Spalding, said: “I don’t think I am going to be on my own on Christmas Day but it would be nice if we could all have a proper party together.”

Following two strokes, Kathleen is too poorly to go out alone and says her five brothers and two sisters live in other parts of Lincolnshire.

Jean is recovering from her second stroke and only recently came out of hospital.

“I have to learn all over again to use my feet and my hands,” said Jean.

“I am a determined lady. I won’t give up.”

Jean may be one of the lucky ones if her grandson can invite her over on Christmas Day.

She said: ““I am not the only one who lives on my own.

“There’s a lot more and it’s very sad.

“That’s life, I suppose.”

Jean and Kathleen are regulars at Spalding’s Age UK Day Centre, which shuts for a fortnight over Christmas because it relies on volunteers who want to spend that time with their own families.

The centre’s general manager, Liz Walmsley, said another organisation would find it tough to step in at this late stage to lay on the Christmas Dinner, although Age UK could help out by lending two minibuses as long as the drivers could go on her insurance.

Mrs Walmsley said Broad Street Methodist Church had “done a tremendous job” organising the dinners for 40 years and understands why they have cancelled.

But she says the elderly people are very upset to lose their Christmas Day get-together.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of lonely people this Christmas,” Mrs Walmsley said.

Rev Alan Barker said: “Thanks are due to volunteers who, for over 40 years, have cooked and served Christmas Day dinner at Broad Street Methodist Church. Many other have arranged and provided assistance with transport.

“Sadly, due to illness and the loss of key organisers, it has not been possible to offer hospitality this year.

“However, monthly lunches and social activities for older people continue to be held at Broad Street, and we assure both young and old of a warm welcome at our other Christmas services and events this year.”