The Western Trust Festive Chat-Tea Train event was held on Thursday, November 30, 2023 brought “joy, friendship and a sprinkle of Christmas Magic” to older people from the local area who are experiencing isolation and loneliness, particularly at this time of year.
Shona McEleney, GP Social Work Assistant, Glendermott Medical Practice, Waterside Health Centre who organised the event along with the Multi-disciplinary Social Work Team said:
“This was the second Chat-Tea train event following the success of the inaugural event on 02 October 2023 as part of International Day of the Older Person and Older Person’s month celebrations throughout October and we wanted to make this a very special Christmas themed day bringing joy, friendship and a sprinkle of Christmas magic.
“We had 80 people registered to attend this Festive Chat-Tea train event.
“Passengers were entertained by the talented members of Lilliput Theatre Company along with pupils from Oakgrove Integrated Primary School & Nursery who sang a number of Christmas songs to the delight of everyone at Waterside Train Station.
“A special collaborative performance of the beautiful Christmas Carol ‘Silent Night’ sang by Oakgrove PS and signed by Lilliput Theatre Company was a magical experience for everyone which was captured by Mark Patterson for his BBC Radio Foyle Show which was aired on Thursday afternoon.
“Passengers boarded the train to Castlerock and enjoyed singing along to the U3A Ukulele group before making the short walk to Castlerock Golf Club for a delicious afternoon tea provided by Costello’s Catering.
“Participants enjoyed a game of festive bingo with spot prizes for winners kindly gifted by AllyFoyle. Each attendee also received a small gift bag which included a handcrafted Christmas decorations from pupils from Oakgrove Primary School; colouring book and a beautiful personalised ‘Have a Derry Christmas’ card produced by Ferry Clever depicting some of the pupils from Oakgrove PS with the Guildhall Square in the background.
“Thank you to AllyFoyle, Ferry Clever, Lidl, Health Improvement Department for their donations and to Tesco Lisnagelvin who provided selections boxes for the children.
“Birthday girl Pat Walton-McClements read out a number of her poems from her beautiful charity book ‘Second Bite of the Cherry’ and we finished off the afternoon with music by U3A Ukelele group and some dancing before heading back to Casterock train station for the journey back to Derry.
“It was a day full of laughter and cheer and making new friendships with feedback from all who attended being incredibly positive with everyone enjoying the day and looking forward to the next event in 2024!”
“Thank you also to Translink for their continued support it is very much appreciated.”