Sheila Hancock tells elderly widows: 'There's no need to be lonely'

82-year-old actress made the remarks at Hay Literature Festival

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The Independent Online

Actress Sheila Hancock has said there is “no need” for widowers to be lonely, encouraging those who have been bereaved to get out and meet new people.

The 82-year-old actress and author, whose husband John Thaw died in 2002, told an audience at Hay Literature Festival that “when you’re lonely you should take a risk.”

Hancock, presently promoting her new novel about a woman during the Second World War, said she wanted to tell people how life can improve – especially following the tragic death of her husband of 28 years.

“People often write to me or talk to me about being lonely, and I say you don’t have to be,” she said.

The actress, whose husband John Haw died from cancer of the oesophagus, said: “There are so many people wandering around on their own that you long to say, talk to one another.

“I think when you’re lonely you should take a risk. If you go into a restaurant and you’re on your own, and you seen somebody else on their own, say hello.”

“If they reject you, so what? Rejection’s alright, you can live with that,” she told the audience.

Hancock, a celebrated stage actress better known for her appearances on Doctor Who, also mentioned she sometimes wished she had contributed to the “betterment of the world,” instead of being a “silly actress”.