A COMMUNITY Christmas lunch with good company has been enjoyed by some of the region’s older people.

For many, the free 1940s-themed festive event heralded the start of the season of good will as they tucked into a traditional turkey dinner with all of the trimmings.

Organised by The Abbeyfield Society charity and Age UK County Durham, it was held in The Kingslodge Inn on Waddington Street in Durham.

Millicent Harrison, 81, Trimdon Village, “It’s been wonderful. I can’t think of a better adjective.

“It has been superb and exhilarating, meeting new people and making new friends. Having a meal prepared for you is such a treat. By the time you’ve cooked for yourself you don’t feel like eating.”

The Christmas celebration was aimed at those most at risk of social isolation and loneliness in the county.

Mrs Harrison, a former personal assistant for Reed International lost her husband 24 years ago on Monday. She lives by herself and has no family.

She said: “The hardest thing is the isolation. My friends are getting older. I live at the top of the hill and I’m the only one of my friends that drives.

“My neighbours that I have known for years have moved or passed away and these days people text rather than call and I feel isolated.”

Guests enjoyed a three-course lunch, forties music entertainment from the Fenner Sisters along with dancing, Christmas bingo and raffle.

Former lollipop lady Margaret Burt, 77, from Witton Gilbert, said: “It means a lot to me because my husband isn’t well and this helps him to come out. He enjoys every minute of coming to these meals.

“We both get dressed up and we can come out together.

“He doesn’t say anything but I know he is happy and enjoying the atmosphere.”

As well as hosting an annual Christmas Party, The Kingslodge Inn runs regular events with Age UK County Durham for older people affected by loneliness in the Durham area, including a monthly lunch club.

Christine Fletcher, director of Age UK County Durham, said: “We have had over hundred people here and it all about kindness and Christmas cheer and a welcoming atmosphere that’s enough to gladden people’s hearts.”