Watch out for those alone at home this Christmas, Poplar MP urges

Ann Barrett

Ann Barrett - Credit: Archant

An MP is calling for neighbours to keep an eye on lonely pensioners in his constituency in London’s deprived East End.

Therea (Left) and neighbour Ann at their East End luncheon club

Therea (Left) and neighbour Ann at their East End luncheon club - Credit: Archant

Jim Fitzpatrick, who has been volunteering at a pensioners luncheon club in his Poplar & Limehouse constituency, wants them to be vigilant so that no-one is alone.

“Some slip through the net,” he warns. “It’s critical that people on their own have contact at Christmas.”

Many do keep a lookout for each other, like pensioner Ann Barrett and her neighbour Theresa Attard who regularly attend the Friday luncheon club at St Mathias in Poplar.

But the two will be apart this year because Theresa, 59, is away for Christmas.

Ann, 60, will be left alone with just her pet dog for company at her flat in Bethnal Green.

“I’m spending Christmas alone because my partner passed away last year,” Ann tells you with sadness.

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“I do feel lonely at times. But I’ve got my dog, Shadow, a Staffordshire crossbreed I bought as a pup when my partner died.

“She keeps me company. We keep each other company. It’s just me and her this Christmas.”

She added: “You can have so many people around you, but you can still feel lonely.”

But her neighbour Theresa, a retired office typist, can’t always be there for Ann.

She said: “I’m away this Christmas, so Anne’s going to be alone.

“I’ve been on my own about 15 years and have got used to it.”

Theresa is nearly blind—yet still manages to get out and about.

“But some people alone can’t go out and they’re stuck indoors,” she adds. “I’m used to being on my own, although it’s nice that Ann and I keep a mutual watch on each other.”

Theresa thinks “Christmas is hyped” with everything more expensive. So she takes it philosophically “like any other day”—that’s how she gets through it.