Come dine with me: Couple respond to pensioner James Gray's newspaper advert for company on Christmas Day
Irish couple were among thousands of people around the world who were touched by James’s story
Wednesday 25 December 2013
A pensioner who took out a newspaper advert to avoid spending Christmas alone for the 10th year in a row enjoyed the occasion in the company of a couple who read about his plight.
James Gray, 85, who was born in Ireland but lives in south London, had wanted to set up a pensioners’ group so he would not be left by himself, but the retired butler received only one response – from a woman who later changed her plans.
But Christmas 2013 saw him enjoy the festivities with John and Marian Cunningham, an Irish couple living in north London. Thanks to them, James was spared a repeat of last year’s lonely dinner of smoked salmon and prawns before turning to his TV for company.
“To me this is like a Christmas miracle come true,” said James. “I thought I was going to be by myself yet again this year because I didn’t think anyone would be so touched by my story to put themselves out like this. But these people are good Samaritans for giving up their Christmas to be with someone like me.”
Mr and Mrs Cunningham were among thousands of people around the world who were touched by James’s story. Since he took out his advert in The Irish Post, the newspaper has received 1,700 cards, including some from Australia, Japan, Chile, Hawaii and South Africa.
The party of three enjoyed a free turkey dinner at the Holiday Inn in Sutton, south London.
Mrs Cunningham said she was inspired to help by James’s “bravery” in taking out an advert and rejected the “good Samaritan” label. Instead, the 52-year-old councillor said James was helping her and John to deal with what is normally a difficult time of year.
She said: “We have not got any children and I find Christmas quite lonely myself because I had miscarriages in the past.”
- 1 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 2 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
Andreas Lubitz: Knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 enabled mass murder
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...