An elderly Irishman who posted an advert appealing for someone to spend Christmas day with him has been overwhelmed by the response.
Picture from Irish Post
James Gray, originally from Cork, has spent Christmas on his own for the past ten years and decided that this year would be different.
He placed an advert in a local newspaper in the hope of finding someone in a similar position to himself, with no immediate family and lonely during the holidays.
The heartfelt plea struck a chord with people, and several major broadcasters around the world carried the story.
Mr Gray has received countless invites to Christmas bashes, from places as far as Scotland and New York.
‘I should have done this years ago’
He spoke to the Irish Post about his shock that his advert made such an impact and to thank everyone for their support: “It is so touching to me, after all these years alone, to see this response from people. I’m so appreciative of the offers. I should have done this years ago.”
Mr Gray, who lives in London, will now spend Christmas Day at a major dinner and party function in Liverpool, after Councillor Jake Morrison heard about his plight, and invited him up as his guest, all expenses paid. Morrison told the Independent newspaper: “We put it out on Facebook and it’s gone mental on Twitter, we’ve had 60 people say they will give up Christmas, volunteer, drive people around and help.”
Mr Gray’s story offers an insight into a concerning trend of pensioners being left feeling isolated and lonely during the festive season.
Age UK director, Caroline Abrahams added: “We would urge everyone to help tackle this growing problem by calling or popping in to visit their older neighbours or relatives to check they are okay over Christmas.”