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Widower joins school pupils for lunch to help tackle loneliness

Widower joins school pupils for lunch to help tackle loneliness

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:47pm 28th November 2019.

An 86-year-old widower has been joining local school pupils for lunch in Plymouth because he feels lonely.

Cyril Aggett lives near Coombe Dean Secondary School and was invited to dine with them at lunchtime every day.

The granddad said he looks forward to his visits up to four times a week, which stop him from being "down in the dumps", after losing his wife.

Mr Aggett and his wife Shirley, who died six years ago, used to go for lunch together at the school.

The widower shut himself away for a month after her death, leaving staff and pupils at the school worried.

The school called on Mr Aggett to see if he was okay, and invited him for a cooked meal.

Mr Aggett said getting back into the routine of going for lunch has "brought me out of my shell again".

"When I first came here I was down in the dumps.

"I get a cup of tea, my lunch and good service. Everybody talks to me, the office staff is brilliant. My wife was there one minute and then I couldn't talk to her because she was under sedation all the time."

Cyril Aggett

Mr Aggett said he experienced a spell of not wanting to get out of bed over the past year.

"A couple of months ago, I wasn't really getting up until about 2pm in the afternoon, it was lovely weather and I couldn't be bothered.

"I think Shirley must have said 'pull your socks up'."

Dinnerladies at the school make Mr Aggett extra batches of sausage rolls, pasties and apple crumble for during the school holidays so he can freeze them.

The retired bespoke shoemaker continued: "It can be very lonely... once you go inside that door.

"I come down here and see the children, a lot of them talk to me, there's one young man that comes up and makes sure he talks to me.

"I love the company and the noise. Once I go indoors and I close those doors down, there's nothing.

"It's mayhem really, it's good. I'd be lost if I didn't come down here."

Cyril Aggett

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