‘i had noth­ing to live for...’


South Wales Evening Post - - FRONT PAGE - ESTEL FARELL-ROIG @Estelfr1 • 01792 545548 estel.farell­[email protected]­i­tymir­ror.com

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.

Pic­ture: Jonathan My­ers

Mar­tin Miller and Natasha Roberts from Am­man­ford.

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