04:40PM, Sunday 25 December 2016
Elderly people who faced being alone on Christmas Day in the Prime Minister’s constituency enjoyed a visit from Theresa May.
She has attended the Maidenhead Christians Christmas Lunch, which allows those out of contact with their families to socialise and enjoy a proper dinner, every year since she was elected as MP in 1997.
About 75 people who faced being alone attended the event, organised by community group Churches Together in Maidenhead and held at SportsAble in Braywick Road, with roughly 100 volunteers cooking, registering the guests and taking care of them as they ate.
Mrs May arrived at 1pm with her husband Philip, and chatted to guests sat at long tables before they ate their meals.
She said: “It is great to be here at this event again this year. It is simply a fantastic event. It is very important.
“They can come together to have a good time, and probably sing a song or two at some point.”
Christmas films played on a projector in the SportsAble hall before Mrs May arrived, and she gave a short speech thanking volunteers and wishing all a merry Christmas.
Guests were then served their traditional meal, accompanied by live music.
Food was donated from a range of groups based in the area - the Rotary Club Maidenhead Thames, the Lions Club of Maidenhead and the Advertiser, through its Cracker Appeal.
The lunch was organised by the former chairman of Churches Together in Maidenhead, Tony Weeks, 63, of Keble Road, who has planned this year’s event since March.
Thanking the volunteers, he said: “They are doing something wonderful on Christmas Day.
“I think it is very important to do it because it gives people an opportunity to socialise and to have a good meal.”
Despite the name, the lunch is open to people of all faiths – as long as they are at risk of loneliness at Christmas.
For some of the guests, their loved ones have passed away. For others, they are not able to get to their family, who could be living hundreds of miles away.
Many are known to the volunteers, having attended for several years.
Helen Wilson, of Crescent Dale, has volunteered to help with the day for 10 years, but this was the first time the 94-year-old was attending as a guest.
Her husband passed away about 20 years ago and she said she enjoyed coming along to have ‘a natter’.
“Life gets very dreary,” she said, and added that nobody should be alone at Christmas.
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