Around 70 selfless volunteers worked from dawn to dusk on Silver Sunday to bring joy to elderly residents in Amersham and surrounding areas.
The day on Sunday, October 3, was part of a national initiative to tackle loneliness and isolation among elderly people, which Buckinghamshire councillor Mimi Harker OBE has been running locally since 2014.
While Silver Sunday usually involves an event at the Amersham Community Centre where people of all generations come together and host fun and free activities for older people, volunteers instead visited elderly residents at their care homes and houses this year and last due to the pandemic.
Mrs Harker OBE (pictured centre) told AmershamNews: “Our volunteers spent the morning packing tea boxes with home-made goodies before our volunteer drivers delivered them to care homes and individuals in the area who had asked us to visit them in advance.
“Originally, the plan was to deliver to people in Amersham and within a five-mile radius, but we had so many requests this year that we ended up going to Chesham, Little Chalfont, Gerards Cross, Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles, Homer Green, Prestwood, Little Missenden and Seer Green as well.
“It was an incredible team effort, carried out with military precision. Everyone involved played their part to make it work; from the volunteers who packed the tea boxes, to the drivers who turned up in droves to deliver them despite the petrol shortage.
“Everyone gave their time so willingly and the morale was fantastic – everyone was just grateful to be a part of something that helps so many older people.”
Care homes visited in Amersham included Pratt House, The Croft, Chiltern Place, Mansil House and Rushymead Residential, and volunteers also went to Windsor Lodge in Gerards Cross.
The Silver Sunday crew also hired entertainers to sing to the residents at a number of the care homes.
Mrs Harker OBE added: “All of the drivers said there was nothing but happy, smiling faces at the places they delivered to and the feedback I’ve had since has been lovely.
“One gentleman said it has been 18 months since he lost his wife and that gifts like these brighten his days.
“Someone else said that her parents, who both turned 90 this year, really appreciated what we did.”
The councillor added that she hopes Silver Sunday, which was supported by HSBC’s Amersham branch and Tesco Amersham this year, sends an important message to residents.
“We want to help elderly people feel less lonely and isolated,”, she explained. “Lockdown highlighted how easy it is to end up feeling alone when you’re vulnerable – for a lot of us, it was temporary, but elderly people are often constantly in that state.
“I hope days of kindness like this encourage younger residents to break down the normal barriers between them and the elderly, whether it’s something simple like asking how they are when they see them or asking if they need any shopping done.
“I want to thank every volunteer who gave up their Sunday to help us do this, along with our sponsors.
“A special mention to Neil Walker, a member of the community who comes back year after year to help with Silver Sunday.”
For more information on Silver Sunday, go to silversunday.org.uk