Age UK welcomed Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort to an afternoon tea earlier this month to meet with some of the Charity’s volunteers and service users.
The event, which took place at Colchester Library, was part of a wider visit that saw The King and The Queen Consort mark Colchester’s recently awarded city status. To celebrate the occasion Age UK invited local service users, volunteers and staff from its Telephone Friendship Service, The Silver Line Helpline, local charity Age UK Norwich as well as the Charity’s Colchester shop to meet with Their Majesties to talk about the different ways the Charity is supporting older people.
The King and The Queen Consort have supported the Charity’s work for many years – as Prince of Wales, His Majesty became Patron of Age UK in 2010 and as Duchess of Cornwall, The Queen Consort became Patron of The Silver Line Helpline in 2017.
Amongst the guests at the afternoon tea celebration was Alison, in her mid-60s, who began using Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service almost a year ago when she started to feel lonely and was then paired with her volunteer befriender, Sheena. Alison said: “Sheena is marvellous – I love speaking to her. We talk about all sorts every week including church, cooking, you name it! I feel much better now that I have these calls, we chat every Tuesday and I love the structure it brings to my week.
Talking to Sheena is one of the only conversations I have throughout the week so it really does mean a lot to me.”
Alison, who is a keen knitter, had the pleasure of gifting The King with a hand-knitted angel, which wears a crown instead of a halo, that she made especially for the afternoon tea celebration. “It feels wonderful to have met The King and not only that but to have been able to give him a present too. I love knitting, I made little angles for Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service team, because they really are angels so I wanted to do the same for His Majesty. I had such a lovely time!”
Alasdair Stewart, Age UK’s Director of National Services, which includes The Silver Line Helpline, joined some of the service’s volunteers to speak with The Queen Consort at the afternoon tea. He said: “Local volunteers from Age UK’s Silver Line Helpline really enjoyed meeting Her Majesty The Queen Consort. Volunteers spoke about their experiences supporting older people over the last few years, during the pandemic and more recently.
“The volunteers were thanked by The Queen Consort for their important work and contributions and given Her Majesty’s close connection to The Silver Line, this felt very special indeed.”
Paul Farmer, Age UK CEO, who hosted the afternoon tea with Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort, said:
“It was a fantastic day, which Age UK was thrilled to host. The support of our volunteers is crucial when it comes to helping older people so this was a great way to celebrate the work of those in the Colchester area and to meet our local service users.
“We’d like to thank our guests for coming along to share their personal experiences of supporting and being part of Age UK with The King and The Queen Consort and for making this such a special day.”