On December 15 this writer reported for Digital Journal the plight of a London based Irish pensioner who, having spent the last 10 Christmases alone, advertised for company. The good news is he spent a Christmas Day 2013 with John and Marian Cunningham.
James Gray, 85, was used to spending Christmas Day alone but he did not like the situation. This year, 2013, Mr Gray decided to take the bull by the horns, advertising for company on Christmas Day. He hoped to form a group of like-minded individuals to share a Christmas meal. Initially he was disappointed as there was a lack of response.
Then the Irish Post highlighted his plight and the offers came rolling in. He was inundated with offers from around the world but happily settled for an invitation to dine with John and Marian Cunningham at the Holiday Inn in Sutton:
“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.”
John and Marian Cunningham are also Irish and live in north London. When they read about Mr Gray's appeal Mrs Cunningham said she felt inspired to act. She rejects the label 'good samaritan' insisting it was Mr Gray's 'bravery' that caused her to act.
Marian Cunningham, 52, told the Independent that by helping Mr Gray she was, in a way, helping herself: “We have not got any children and I find Christmas quite lonely myself because I had miscarriages in the past.” Whatever the reason the three people appear to have had a good time.
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".
Irish pensioner James lives in a flat in London, but hails from Midleton in Cork, Ireland Having spent the last nine Christmases alone this year he took positive action to make sure this Christmas was different placing the advert in the Irish Post newspaper early in December in the hope he would have company this Christmas.
According to the Mail Online Sunday "The last person he [Gray] had spent Christmas Day with was his accountant - 11 years ago".
Christmas 2013 was much happier for Mr Gray and you can see photos of his big day out here.