‘i had nothing to live for...’
THE CHRISTMAS CALL THAT MADE PENSIONER ‘FEEL ALIVE AGAIN’
THE only people Lillian Jones normally sees are the carers she pays for. For this 89-year-old, Christmas Day is just like any other day.
Mrs Jones, from the Birchgrove area of Swansea, lost her husband 32 years ago, and, since her vision and mobility has got worse, she hasn’t been able to go out of the house on her own for the past year.
She has only been out of the house three times in the past six months, and that was to go to the doctor.
However, last year, Mrs Jones was invited to a Christmas Day dinner for people who would otherwise be on their own. For her, getting that phone call meant the world.
Mrs Jones, who is from Neath originally, said: “It was wonderful.
“I was housebound and, when I had that phone call . . . I will never believe what that phone call meant to me.
“That phone call made me feel I wanted to live again. I had nothing to live for and that call came out of the blue.”
Mrs Jones - who has had problems with her vision since she was in her thirties and can hardly see said she didn’t know anyone at the meal, but that they all made her feel very welcome, adding that she felt like she was among family.
“I don’t have any visitors, the only people I see are the carers that I pay for and I am only allowed them one hour a day,” she
That phone call made me feel I wanted to live again. I had nothing to live for and that call came out of the blue.
- Lillian Jones
said. “I am finding it hard at the moment. Mrs Jones said that, for the past 10 years, she hadn’t done anything at Christmas, and, as she can’t stand for long, she couldn’t cook herself anything special either.
She will be going to the meal organised by volunteers again this year, and added: “I am looking forward to it [the meal].
“I do not normally look forward to Christmas, but the way I feel now is that I am alive again. I think it is fantastic that they do this.
“I used to like Christmas with my children and grandchildren, but now it is just like a normal day.”
There are a number of places across Wales that will be opening their doors on December 25 to make sure that those who are lonely don’t spend the occasion on their own.
Mrs Jones herself will be attending a Christmas dinner at Teilo’s Community Cwtch in Cheriton Crescent, Portmead, on Christmas Day, from noon to 4pm.
For the past three years chef Marc Thomas, along with Kathryn Charles and Nick Griffiths, have been providing a free Christmas dinner for people who would otherwise be alone. This year they are expecting up to 150 people.
The dinner will consist of soup, a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, coffee and a mince pie or a mini stollen.
Martin Miller, aged 39, and Nathasha Roberts, aged 21, also went to the meal last year, and say they are looking forward to this year’s event.
The couple, who are originally from Ammanford, became homeless two years ago and for the past year they have been living in Swansea.
They moved to the city to find work, and are currently living in a caravan.
Mr Miller, a tree surgeon, said: “We went to Matt’s Cafe (in High Street, Swansea) on Christmas Eve last year and we were given an offer to go to the other event on Christmas Day.
“We will be going again this year and we will be donating some small gifts.”
Ms Roberts said: “I absolutely loved it there.
“I loved the atmosphere - it was absolutely amazing.
“Everyone there is fabulous and you can make new friends.
“It felt like a family Christmas.”
Ms Roberts said they had kept in touch with some of the people they met at the meal last year.
“It was a very good way to meet people,” Mr Miller added.
“It was nice to meet people from different walks of life.”
Lillian Jones, aged 89, from Birchgrove.
A group of volunteers will be preparing hundreds of Christmas dinners for people who are on their own in Swansea.
Martin Miller and Natasha Roberts from Ammanford.