Page 3 Profile: James Gray, Christmas diner


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The Independent Online

He looks like he’s enjoying a nice Christmas dinner

He is. But he would have been eating alone if he didn’t take drastic action. People from around the world heard about James Gray after he posted an advert in the Irish Post asking for someone to help him end his 10-year stint of Christmas Days spent alone. The last person he saw on 25 December was his accountant a decade ago.

How did he end up alone?

Mr Gray blames his loneliness on working too much and being shy. Born in a workhouse in Cork, he endured hard work on farms until he became a servant in a castle in Dublin. As a butler, he once served Ronald Reagan at the United States Embassy in London, as well former Prime Minister John Major and Princess Anne. He finally stopped working aged 73. He says his biggest regret is having a row about dinner with a woman he lived with when they were both 60. He told her to leave and has been alone since.

Did he succeed in his mission for a Christmas companion?

In no time he was inundated by Christmas cards sent to his south London flat from as far as Chile, the US, Australia and Japan. Soon enough, he had his pick of who to spend Christmas with.

True Christmas magic!

The spirit of Christmas of was indeed truly alive as Mr Gray upgraded from the smoked  salmon and prawns he ate last year and tucked into a traditional Christmas feast with an Irish couple Marian and John Cunningham.

The pair went the extra mile by driving to meet the 85-year-old at a hotel near his home. Last time we heard he was pondering over the tricky question of whether or not to have pudding.

“To me this is like a Christmas miracle come true,” said Mr Gray.