Celebratory tea marks charity’s 50th anniversary

Ester and Pam looking back at pictures of Pam's family from 1965, the year Contact the Elderly began
Ester and Pam looking back at pictures of Pam's family from 1965, the year Contact the Elderly began
  • Contact the Elderly’s 50th anniversary
  • Biggest tea party the charity has ever organised
  • Members say the group is a ‘lifesaver’

PENSIONERS were treated to a celebratory tea to mark Contact the Elderly’s 50th anniversary.

The aim of the charity is to help combat loneliness and isolation for elderly people living alone.

It was set up in 1965 in Marylebone by Trevor Lyttleton, after he discovered there were many hundreds of elderly people in his borough who were entirely alone.

Since then, Contact the Elderly (CTE), the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people, has set up groups across the country, supported by a network of volunteers.

Monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups aged 75 and over are held to offer a vital friendship link on a regular basis.

Maggie Farmer, the Shoreham and Lancing volunteer co-ordinator, said she received many positive comments and feedback.

The hosts' daughters, far right, enjoy being involved in the tea party

The hosts' daughters, far right, enjoy being involved in the tea party

The group offers friendship between guests and volunteer drivers, with the group getting together in different people’s homes to share life experiences.

Maggie said: “Our Shoreham and Lancing group was kindly invited to the home of Melissa and Colin Brookes with their two children, Evie, five, and Holly, three, in Shoreham.

“Melissa and Colin regularly host for us and on Sunday, the party had a ‘golden’ theme. Everyone had a wonderful time and nothing was too much trouble for our hosts, with Evie and Holly very much involved.

“For me, it is a privilege to be part of the CTE organisation as co-ordinator for the Shoreham and Lancing group. I am sure I speak for the other drivers to say we thoroughly enjoy what do. We are so grateful to those who host for us, making it all possible.”

I am sure I speak for the other drivers to say we thoroughly enjoy what do. We are so grateful to those who host for us, making it all possible

Maggie Farmer, Shoreham and Lancing volunteer co-ordinator

Groups all over the country held special celebration teas on Sunday to celebrate the golden jubilee at the biggest tea party CTE has ever organised, with an estimated 5,000 people taking part.

Maggie said people had told her belonging to the group had made such a difference and others described it as ‘a lifesaver’. The elderly people appreciated the opportunity to make new friends and really looked forward to the teas, as it gave them the chance to dress up a bit.

For more information about Contact the Elderly, visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk or telephone 020 7240 0630.

Joan, Mavis and Olive receive their gold gifts from Carol, one of the volunteer drivers

Joan, Mavis and Olive receive their gold gifts from Carol, one of the volunteer drivers

Joan and Jessie ready to enjoy a variety of cakes and sandwiches

Joan and Jessie ready to enjoy a variety of cakes and sandwiches