Pub offers lonely OAPs free dinner and transport on Christmas Day

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Togetherness: licensee Martin Lloyd is opening the Crown & Anchor for the lonely elderly on Christmas Day
Togetherness: licensee Martin Lloyd is opening the Crown & Anchor for the lonely elderly on Christmas Day
A pub is warming hearts this Christmas by opening its doors to senior citizens who would otherwise be alone.

While traditionally hailed as 'the most wonderful time of the year', for many people across the UK, Christmas is often the loneliest period.

It is estimated that almost 500,000 elderly people will spend the festive day with only the TV for company.

One pub trying to break the 'alone at Christmas' stigma is the Crown & Anchor in Bromley, Kent.

Christmas spirit

Last year, the team at the family-owned pub came together to give elderly people companionship and the chance to smile on Christmas Day.

Licensee Martin Lloyd said he started the tradition when he realised that his divorce meant he had no one to celebrate the holiday with.

Rather than spending the day feeling sorry for himself, he decided to use his pub to spread festive cheer by offering free lunches to the local elderly.

"If you’ve got no family around you at Christmas time, you’re sitting on your own and watching telly, and there’s all these Christmas movies of families coming together with all the hugs and kisses, and you’re sitting there thinking 'I haven’t got anyone,' it’s gutting," Lloyd said.

Lloyd added that the day was "so magical" that he has decided to do it again.

Gone viral

He announced this year’s plan on Facebook, which will include "soup, traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and Christmas pudding" as well as a glass of sherry and a mince pie.

"Don’t be alone on Christmas Day," reads the post which has since gone viral after being shared more than 77,000 times.

"What an absolutely fantastic idea for people who would otherwise be alone," one person commented.

Another wrote: "Such a simple honest gesture – hopefully more pubs take a leaf out of your book."

Companionship is key 

This year, and in the years to come, Lloyd again plans to host the Christmas meal – and provide transportation so that anyone can come.

"The food and drink is for nothing, it’s the companionship and not having someone on their own for Christmas Day," he said.

"We only had 13 turn up last year, but we've almost doubled that with 25 booked in so far.

"There’s nothing better than putting a smile on someone’s face and not having anything for it – you can’t put a price tag on that."

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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