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Age UK hosts afternoon tea with Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort

Published on 09 March 2023 12:00 AM

Age UK was delighted to welcome Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort to an afternoon tea earlier this week to meet with some of the Charity’s volunteers and service users.

The event, which took place at Colchester Library, was part of a wider visit that saw The King and The Queen Consort mark Colchester’s recently awarded city status. To celebrate the occasion Age UK invited local service users, volunteers and staff from its Telephone Friendship Service, The Silver Line Helpline, local charity Age UK Norwich as well as the Charity’s Colchester shop to meet with Their Majesties to talk about the different ways the Charity is supporting older people.

The King and The Queen Consort have supported the Charity’s work for many years - as Prince of Wales, His Majesty became Patron of Age UK in 2010 and as Duchess of Cornwall, The Queen Consort became Patron of The Silver Line Helpline in 2017.

Lauren, mid-20s, works in HR and has been volunteering on the Telephone Friendship Service for two years. Lauren decided to start volunteering after experiencing a taste of what it was like to feel lonely during the pandemic: “Although I was working every day and interacting with friends and family I still felt lonely, especially as I lived alone. The evenings feeling like days rather than hours. I remember thinking a lot about those who feel like this every day, not just in lockdown. Despite the fact I felt lonely I knew I still had people to speak to, but some people have no one, which is why I decided to do something to help.

“I love chatting to the older lady I’ve been matched with - the joy I know our calls bring her each week makes me so happy. We both look forward to our chats and we love knowing about each other’s lives. I got a puppy, Rosie, about six months after we began speaking, and she loves hearing about her as she’s not able to have a dog in the flat she lives in. I go and get photos of Rosie printed and send them to her through Age UK, so she’s been able to watch her grow up with me! 

“Being here today felt so special – it was lovely to meet other volunteers and get the chance to meet The King – he was so easy to chat to, I told him all about my Age UK friend and Rosie of course.”

Alasdair Stewart, Age UK’s Director of National Services, which includes The Silver Line Helpline, joined some of the service’s volunteers to speak with The Queen Consort at the afternoon tea. He said: "Local volunteers from Age UK's Silver Line Helpline really enjoyed meeting Her Majesty The Queen Consort. Volunteers spoke about their experiences supporting older people over the last few years, during the pandemic and more recently.

“The volunteers were thanked by The Queen Consort for their important work and contributions and given Her Majesty’s close connection to The Silver Line, this felt very special indeed."

Paul Farmer, Age UK CEO, who hosted the afternoon tea with Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort, said: “It was a fantastic day, which Age UK was thrilled to host. The support of our volunteers is crucial when it comes to helping older people so this was a great way to celebrate the work of those in the Colchester area and to meet our local service users.

“We’d like to thank our guests for coming along to share their personal experiences of supporting and being part of Age UK with The King and The Queen Consort and for making this such a special day.”

Age UK provides information, support, friendship and advice for older people in need, as well as campaigning for change. Age UK’s services include its Telephone Friendship Service, which matches older people who are feeling lonely with a trained volunteer befriender for a friendly weekly chat. The service depends on volunteers who are able to give their time and effort to make a difference to older people experiencing loneliness and struggling with the many issues that growing older can bring.

The Charity’s Silver Line Helpline[i] is a free and confidential helpline that is available day and night for any older person to call if they are feeling lonely, providing them with instant reassurance, conversation and comfort.

Age UK now needs volunteers more than ever before because demand for its Telephone Friendship Service is high. Volunteering for the service is a safe and easy way of making a new friend, whilst knowing you really are making a big difference to an older person who is lonely.  To register sign up online by visiting:

Anyone who needs support, or who is worried about an older relative or friend, or wants to find out more about how Age UK’s services can help, can get in touch by calling Age UK Advice free of charge on 0800 169 6565 (8am-7pm), or visit Any older person looking for a cheerful chat can call the Charity’s Silver Line Helpline, day or night, on 0800 4 70 80 90.


Photography credit: Graham Lacdao

Additional guest quotes:

Terrence, late 70s, who uses Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service, described the event as: “Out of this world, the best thing in my whole life. It was the most wonderful day of my life. The King came and sat down with us and asked questions about Age UK. He asked if the Telephone Friendship Service is beneficial and I said it has been really helpful since my wife died. I have been with Age UK for about three years and find Jason from Leicester calls really helpful. I feel so proud to have met the King.”

Elizabeth, mid-70s, has been volunteering for Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service for 10 years. Elizabeth began volunteering after retirement and loves her weekly phone calls. After meeting His Majesty at the Age UK afternoon tea Elizabeth said: “I have had such a wonderful day, I loved chatting away to The King about my work as a volunteer. Today felt extra special – about 40 years ago I had the pleasure of meeting the Queen and Prince Philip so it felt very special today to meet our new King!”

About Age UK

Age UK is a national charity that works with a network of partners, including Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and local Age UKs across England, to help everyone make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.

In the UK, the Charity helps more than seven million older people each year by providing advice and support.  It also researches and campaigns on the issues that matter most to older people. Its work focuses on ensuring that older people: have enough money; enjoy life and feel well; receive high quality health and care; are comfortable, safe and secure at home; and feel valued and able to participate

Age UK’s subsidiary charity, Age International, supports older people globally in over 30 developing countries by funding programmes such as vital emergency relief and healthcare and campaigning to raise awareness and change policies.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and registered company number 6825798). Charitable services are provided through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s Community Interest Company (CiC) (registered company number 1102972) which donates its net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

[i] The Silver Line was set up in 2013 by Dame Esther Rantzen and became part of Age UK in 2019.

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Last updated: Jun 20 2023

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