A group of Northampton mums was so inspired by this year’s heart-warming John Lewis Christmas advert they have started a campaign to help elderly people avoid loneliness this festive season.
The much-anticipated television commercial released by the department store giants has already been viewed more than 17 million times on Youtube and shows an elderly man peering down at the earth from his house on the moon.
But the themes of loneliness and ageing in the advert struck a chord with a Duston mum-of-seven.
Aine Cullen was so moved by the sentimental commercial, which features a cover of Oasis song Half the World Away, she has started a campaign to invite elderly people living around to her home for Christmas if they are alone.
She and a group of three friends started by going door-to-door in the Briar Hill area inviting elderly folk round to their houses for Christmas dinner, as well as launching a shoe box appeal at Briar Hill Primary School and contacting John Lewis to see if the department store chain will help out their effort.
Mrs Cullen, 36, of Duston, said: “That advert made me think that I had to do something.
“When I spoke to some of the other mums at Briar Hill Primary School after I first saw the advert they all felt the same.
“No one should be alone at Christmas, so this is just our way of trying to do our bit.”
Mrs Cullen, a singer who also recorded a charity single for Syrian refugees in September, says the group intend to knock on doors in the Briar Hill area a number of times in the run-up to Christmas.
But she is hoping more groups can be encouraged to start similar schemes in their neighbourhoods.
“If everyone in Northampton did this in their communities, it would make such a big difference,” she said. “We all have elderly people who are lonely in our areas.
“All I’m asking is that people ask a neighbour if they want to come round for dinner, if they need anything, or if they just want some company this Christmas.”
To help donate items such as tins of food, blankets or small gifts to Briarhill Primary School’s shoebox appeal, to set up a similar scheme in your neighbourhood, or even to recommend someone to Mrs Cullen and her friends who would appreciate some company this Christmas, call her on 07541698686.