Grace goes to Downing Street Christmas do

Grace Adebowale, Julie Marshall, Doris Woods and Hilary Thompson at Downing Street
Grace Adebowale, Julie Marshall, Doris Woods and Hilary Thompson at Downing Street

Strictly Come Dancing stars and the Prime Minister joined forces to throw a party to raise awareness of loneliness at Christmas.

More than 20 volunteers and old people from companionship services and lunch clubs in Yorkshire attended the Downing Street bash with David Cameron, last week.

Grace Adebowale, 80, from Wakefield was one of them.

Grace is a member of the Wakefield branch of national charity Contact the Elderly.

The charity helps to tackle loneliness and social isolation among older people by hosting a monthly Sunday afternoon tea party for people over 75 who live alone.

Each older person is collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a volunteer host’s home for the afternoon.

Grace said: “Since I joined Contact the Elderly my life has changed completely.

“I have met so many lovely people I wouldn’t have met before.

“I really enjoy the tea parties, the drivers and hosts are so friendly and welcoming and it’s so lovely of them all to take the time and trouble to put on the tea parties for us each month.”

Grace was welcomed to Downing Street with a rendition of carols by the London Welsh Choir.

The guests then tucked in to a party lunch of smoked salmon, roast turkey and Christmas pudding in the state dining room.

The Prime Minister said: “Christmas is a time that should be filled with joy and celebration not loneliness and isolation.

“And yet there are too many people, often older people, who will spend this festive season alone.

“You can’t underestimate what a big difference small, caring acts and companionship can make to someone who is on their own.”