Reach­ing out to the lonely this Christ­mas

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

DID you read about the boy dubbed the loneli­est boy in Bri­tain? He has the plea­sure – or bad luck – to be the only pupil at his school on a re­mote Scot­tish is­land.

As home school­ing is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity it got me won­der­ing whether any of our young­sters would swap with him, so that they too could enjoy this kind of one-to-one at­ten­tion.

I sus­pect not. Nowhere to hide from an ever-present teacher? Chas­ing your­self at play­time? A meal-for-one at lunchtime?

The move for more par­ents to ed­u­cate their chil­dren round the kitchen ta­ble rather than in the main­stream class­room ap­pears to be mainly be­cause of bul­ly­ing or the fear (par­tic­u­larly in Amer­ica) of wider violence. Oth­ers worry that their value sys­tems or re­li­gious be­liefs are at odds with those be­ing taught in schools.

How­ever I sus­pect that most pupils would rather wade their way through the hurly burly of school life with all its prob­lems, rather than be rat­tling around alone.

Lone­li­ness can strike at any age of course and we tend to fo­cus on it at this time of year.

I’m not sure the sen­ti­men­tal John Lewis ad­vert with its man on the moon does any­thing to help, but we can­not es­cape the fact that many, of­ten older, peo­ple are fac­ing the fes­tive sea­son alone, through be­reave­ment or loved ones hav­ing moved away, per­haps abroad.

It is there­fore great to hear that David Routledge is once again ar­rang­ing the Christ­mas Day lunch and tea for those who would oth­er­wise be alone.

If you would like to know more phone 01895 272281 leav­ing a mes­sage if nec­es­sary (speak­ing slowly) – name, ad­dress, post­code, phone num­ber and email if pos­si­ble, and whether you need trans­port or use a wheel­chair.

This won­der­ful scheme is in its 25th year and in 2014, 120 peo­ple joined in the fun at Christchurch Halls in Red­ford Way, Uxbridge.

I read that Es­ther Rantzen, since she was wid­owed, is also fed up with her own com­pany and would like to meet some­one to share her life. I hope she does.

I can’t really sym­pa­thise, how­ever, with her com­plaint that she spends her time watch­ing Strictly and Down­ton and binge­ing on cheese and bis­cuits.

With the crowded shops, dark evenings and cold weather, it sounds to me like a good night in.

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