Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Camilla heartbreak: Duchess opens up on ‘blight of loneliness’ in poignant video

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Camilla highlighted the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on over-70s over the past few months in a heart-wrenching appeal. The lockdown, social distancing rules and serious dangers to their health represented by COVID-19 has left in solitude many pensioners self-isolating. 

In the clip recorded for the organisers of Silver Sunday, the Duchess urged people to reach out to their elderly neighbours or relatives to help them fight the “blight of loneliness”.

Silver Sunday is a nationwide initiative usually offering free activities for older people suffering from loneliness and isolation to help them socialise, get active and learn something new.

This year, organisers will host virtual get-togethers to allow vulnerable people to attend the event. 

Camilla said: “This year will of course be very different, with most events taking place virtually, rather than in the flesh.

“So Silver Sunday is more important than ever.

“Its aim is to tackle the blight of loneliness that affects so many, and which, very sadly, has increased significantly over the recent months of lockdown.   

“More than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

“Silver Sunday is the perfect moment to break the silence in which many live, perhaps with a telephone call to a grandparent, a card to an elderly neighbour or by hosting your very own virtual event.

“I want to encourage everyone to take the time to remember the older generation on October 4, and to find creative ways to express our appreciation and gratitude to them.” 

Joking about being the “target audience” of Silver Sunday, the Duchess praised organisers’ years-long work.

The 73-year-old said: “Since 2012, the first Sunday of October has been Silver Sunday, the National Day for Older People.

“It is a day that offers us all the opportunity to focus on older people’s contributions to our communities and to our society.

“Different generations gather together across the UK to celebrate their elders and to make new friends, through a variety of fun, free activities that range from tea parties to curling to Zumba dancing. 

“As a member of Silver Sunday’s target audience, I can honestly say that it is a completely brilliant initiative.”

Camilla, who is the patron of several organisations aiming to help the elders, was praised by the founder of Silver Sunday, Lady Christabel Flight, for supporting her initiative.

She said: “We are hugely grateful to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall for supporting Silver Sunday.

“This year, in particular, we have seen even more older people struggling with loneliness and unable to hug loved ones. 

“But we have also seen a huge increase of people signing-up to volunteer and heart-warming stories of community spirit.

“I hope everyone can join us and help make an older person smile this Silver Sunday.”

Plans to celebrate Silver Sunday this year in a COVID-secure way include a chair dance challenge, an all-day “Dance-a-thon”, a Cantonese Opera workshop, as well as outdoor museum tours, walking groups and boat trips.

Those shielding who still want to take part in the day’s activities will be delivered parcels with items donated by local businesses as well as afternoon teas and thoughtful cards.    

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