1490. Christabel Flight
Christabel Flight, from London, is a Westminster City Councillor and Westminster’s Older People’s Champion who founded Silver Sunday, the national day for older people, with Westminster charity, The Sir Simon Milton Foundation.
Held on the first Sunday in October, Silver Sunday celebrates the contributions of older people to society and aims to tackle loneliness among older people. Christabel set up Silver Sunday in 2012 following a report which found that more than a third of people aged over 75 said they were lonely. In 2019, well over 1,200 free events took place across the country, ranging from walking sports tournaments, dances, art classes, metal workshops, yoga, boat trips, cultural experiences, dementia-friendly concerts and activities for the house-bound. This year, in light of the pandemic, volunteers across the country are holding a range of events that are both safely, socially distanced and using technology for at home or virtual activities.
“I am thrilled and honoured to receive a Points of Light award, but not for myself. It is wonderful that Silver Sunday, the national day for older people, is being recognised and even more importantly the plight of lonely older people, especially this year. My goal is to establish Silver Sunday in the nation’s conscience and calendar – if we can have a Father’s Day and Mothering Sunday, why not a day for older people?
“On Silver Sunday last year there were over 1,200 free events across the UK, attended by tens of thousands of older people and supported by over 100 organisations. People made new friends, tried new things and escaped from the four walls of their loneliness. This year Silver Sunday will of course look very different, but it has never been more important.
“It is wonderful to see the volunteer spirit that seems to have been unlocked by this pandemic and people’s ingenuity to do something for older people, whatever the restrictions placed on us all. There are great things happening across the UK this weekend for older people, and my plea is for everyone, from all generations, to pause and think about your older people who are family, friends or just neighbours. Please pick up the phone to them, write them a card, knock on the door for a chat (safely of course) or better still bake them a cake or some biscuits!”
Matthew Sykes, Chief Executive of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, added:
“All of us in the Silver Sunday team are so delighted that Christabel has been given this award, no-one deserves it more. She is the driving force behind Silver Sunday. She has boundless energy and only ever thinks of what she can do for other people.”
Pictured below: Christabel with Silver Sunday staff and volunteers, supporter Joanna Lumley, and Matthew Sykes, Chief Executive of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, at a previous Silver Sunday event; and Christabel delivering tea boxes ahead of an event for this year’s Silver Sunday