Lunch is back for a second helping

Around 70 people attended the first Friendship Lunch in February.''Picture James Hardisty

Around 70 people attended the first Friendship Lunch in February.''Picture James Hardisty

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A FRIENDSHIP Lunch, inspired by the Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign, takes place for the second time on Wednesday.

More than 70 people, some travelling from as far as Huddersfield, attended the first event at the Durham Ox in Crayke last month.

It marked the first anniversary of a year of campaigning by the newspaper to draw attention to the plight of those suffering from loneliness in the region.

The Durham Ox’s owner, Michael Ibbotson, devised the concept so that people who might otherwise struggle to get out of the house or feel lonely would be able to get together, meet new people are share conversation over a good meal.

The event, which was supported by Age UK North Yorkshire, was such a success that it is now a monthly occurrence and 36 people have already booked, with “many people returning for seconds and others who are coming for the first time”, Mr Ibbotson said.

“So many people have reacted positively to the event, it just shows the demand there is for such an event,” he said. “Whether you are coming to the event by yourself, with friends or with a partner the lunch simply embraces the simple idea that together we can help each other.

“Isolation is terribly debilitating, and so by hosting a convivial event such as this, hopefully we can encourage people to get out, enjoy a good lunch and see that they are not alone.”

The Durham Ox is still taking bookings for the Friendship Lunch, which takes place from 12pm on Wednesday March 11. Call 01347 821506 to book or for further information.

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