* Figure taken from Age UK.
Residents, volunteers, trustees and staff gathered together last week to celebrate the beginning of Christmas at our annual carol service at Liverpool Cathedral. Held each year in the Lady's Chapel, our congregation enjoyed traditional hymns and readings followed by some sweet treats and mulled wine.
David McCullough, Abbeyfield CEO opened the service and said, "Today I am pleased to welcome you all to our annual Christmas Carol Service as we look forward to the festive period that lies ahead. There is something comforting and familiar about singing the songs that we have all known since childhood, bound up with memories of school and excitement at the holidays and celebrations about to begin.
"We all know the saying that: "the older you get, the faster times seems to go." Well, maybe it's my age, but "Abbeyfield time" certainly seems to travel at speed, nevermore so than this year! With a year that has focused on looking forward, it was good to celebrate our shared passion for the work of Abbeyfield, to remember the inspiring vision of our founder Richard Carr-Gomm and
to take a breath together and pause from our hectic lives.
"Within our extended Abbeyfield Family we have much to be joyful and thankful for, most notably each other and the kindness and good humour that our residents,
volunteers and staff share with each other. But, at this time of year we are reminded that for many Christmas can be a time of reflection and sadness, particularly those who are without family or loved ones. It is in the weeks ahead that our Abbeyfield Family has a special impact on those that we care about, whilst also extending our warmth and friendship to those who live nearby. Being surrounded by the people we love and who love us in return can have such a positive impact on our spirit during Christmas time.
"I wish each and every one within the Abbeyfield Family and indeed within your own families happiness and every good wish for Christmas and for the opportunities that a New Year brings to us all."
The order of service which followed David's welcome included favourite hymns such as, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger and O Come, all Ye Faithful as well as readings from Anna Boyes, Director of Marketing, Clare Hobbins, Director of Housing at Abbeyfield The Dales and prayers from the Cathedral Clergy and Bishop Stephen Venner.
Clare Hobbins, Head of Housing at Abbeyfield The Dales said. “It was, as usual, a lovely service which we at Abbeyfield The Dales enjoyed very much.
“We started our visit to Liverpool with a lunch with fellow 'Abbeyfielder's' which was a fabulous event spent chatting with trustees and residents about Christmases past and present. Before the service we stopped to purchase some souvenirs from the Cathedral shop for residents to give to family as gifts. All in all a really good start to Christmas.”
After the service, residents and staff were invited for mulled wine, mince pies, ginger biscuits and a catch up with friends.
Companionship at Christmas
Christmas is an especially important time of year for older people living in the UK as it’s at this time of year when feelings of loneliness and social isolation are brought to the fore.
Every year, almost 500,000 older people* feel lonelier at Christmas which is why our homes are opening their doors to invite as many people in the community as we can, who would otherwise be alone, to join us over the festive period. Offering the chance to meet new friends, eat good food and take part in festive activities, Companionship at Christmas aims to make sure everybody has someone to spend Christmas with.