A FESTIVE party that saw around 50 people who would otherwise have spent Christmas Day on their own enjoy carol-singing, mulled wine and a delicious three-course meal, has been hailed a success by all involved.
Christmas Together, which was held at the Pill Social Centre, brought local people together to celebrate and enjoy some much-needed companionship on what is often called ‘the loneliest day of the year’.
Highlighting the devastating effect being alone can have was Beryl Lawley-Lewis, who recently lost her husband Peter.
Beryl said the invitation to attend Christmas Together had been an answer to her prayers.
“It's a terrible feeling, being on your own at Christmas, you can't explain it,” said Beryl.
Although initially reluctant to attend, Beryl said spending the day with people who she could relate to had been a “godsend”.
“I'm so glad I came,” she said. "My husband would be so pleased that I'm not on my own today."
After a sing-song and a festive feast, guests and volunteers enjoyed an afternoon of fun and games, including a special Christmas quiz, put together by former bus driver Dirk Olivier, who moved to Milford Haven in September.
"It's very easy to slip into a form of isolation sometimes; you need motivation to get out and about,” he said.
"If I hadn't come to this I would have been sitting at home on my own watching TV."
Among those volunteering were friends Libby Smith, 19, from Milford Haven, and Harley Nicholas, 18, from Hakin.
"We're a bit old for toys so wanted to do something in the spirit of Christmas," said Harley. "I don't think we realised how lucky we are to have someone at Christmas."
Christmas Together founder Cllr Guy Woodham said he was delighted with how the day turned out.
“I am extremely grateful to all those who volunteered as without this help Christmas Together would not continue to be the success that it has become,” he said.
Cllr Woodham added that, following the overwhelming support received this year, Christmas Together will definitely take place for a third time on Christmas Day 2014, with the intention that it will be “even bigger and better”.
The event was made possible thanks to donations from the Port of Milford Haven, EuroSpar, AF Blakemore, Milford Haven Round Table, Valero, Milford Haven Town Council, Austwel Ltd, Tesco Milford Haven, Greggs Foundation, RWE nPower, St Katharine and St Peter’s Church, North Road Baptist Church, Milford Haven Friends Meeting House, London Metric Property, Hakin Glade (No 589), Milford Haven Slimming World and several individuals.