For the past 20 years, Terrence has been spending Christmas on his own. This year would mark a change for him, thanks to the community coming together to "brighten his Christmas."
Christmas is the time for joy, love, and presents. It's the time when families get together, shower each other with affection and create new memories. But not everyone is lucky enough to experience that. And one such person is a 78-year-old man called Terrence who has spent the last 20 Christmases alone and without anyone to spend it with — until recently.
BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker decided to talk to this pensioner about the loneliness he experienced when he spent all these years on his own on the holiday. According to Independent UK, he told the TV presenter that on Christmas, he would go to his mother's house and take with him a cooked meal and presents that he would wrap up in parcels before packing it up in a pillowcase.
“One day, I’ll never forget her saying to me, ‘Without you bringing me my presents for Christmas I wouldn’t have any presents, would I?’ And I often think about that now. You know, people on their own now don’t get any presents from people,” said Terrence, who lost his mum. He had also explained in an earlier interview that Christmas Day was “not a very good day” for many years - he would get up, make a sandwich and watch TV, according to the Manchester Evening News.
And so for two decades, Terrence spent Christmas alone until he decided to take this December 25 into his own hands. He made plans to spend the festival with Nancy, a woman with dementia, having met her thanks to Age UK, a British charity that focuses on helping society's elderly. “I always think with anything, unless you’ve actually been there, you don’t know what it’s like. I didn’t know what it was like to have depression until I got it,” the pensioner stated.
However, Dan Walker wanted to make it even more special for the elderly gentleman, especially after having heard his story, reported Express UK. The next day, with the help of the local community, the presenter had a surprise for him. "Terrence, can I please introduce to you these lovely people who've come to see you from Oldham College? They've got an early Christmas present for you, Terrence." Just at that moment, numerous people came in to shake his hand and one person even had a small Christmas tree with them, something that was meant "to brighten [his] Christmas."
Overwhelmed by the affection, the septuagenarian broke down in tears with Dan often asking him, "Are you okay, Terrence?" He later said, between sobs, "Thank you. Thank you so much." But that was not all. Dan had another surprise waiting for Terrence. After asking the elderly gentleman the name of his favorite carol, Silent Night, he opened the front door to reveal Oldham College’s choir, who performed an affecting rendition of the Christmas song. As Dan stood behind Terrence, the latter continued to wipe away his tears, bowled over by the absolute affection that had been showered on him.
And once again, that was not the end of the surprises in store. Terrence was also invited by actor and singer John Barrowman to attend the entertainer’s Fabulous Christmas Tour show at Sheffield City Hall, according to another Independent UK article. Even during the performance, the audience serenaded the elderly man to a special performance of Silent Night, holding their smartphones high to create a goosebump-inducing ambiance. In a video filmed of the heartwarming moment, Terrence is seen standing with his hands over his mouth in awe.
However you feel after the #GeneralElection this morning I’m pretty sure we can all unite around this... we took Terrence to see @JohnBarrowman last night & the whole of @SheffCityHall sang him ‘Silent Night’. Full story on Monday’s #bbcbreakfast 😭👏🏻— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) December 13, 2019
Thank you John & @age_uk pic.twitter.com/W0LasY3OUK
This story is a reminder that even the elderly deserve to have someone to spend their special holidays with. If you have a parent or grandparent who could use a little extra loving this season, don't hesitate to do it. After all, the Christmas spirit lies in all of us and we just need to spread it.