Over 1,000 Westminster residents aged 65 and above dined on high tea and danced to a big band in the Grand Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane on Sunday 6 November.
Founded 11 years ago by Older People’s Champion, Cllr Christabel Flight, Westminster City Council’s Tea Dance is a free event designed to tackle isolation and loneliness in the borough, and guests, in full evening wear, had a stellar day out.
The afternoon spectacular is supported by the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, a charity that helps isolated older people in the city, and is generously sponsored by Shaftesbury PLC and The Telegraph Media Group.
The Red Stripe Band with full brass section and The Three Belles filled the dance floor in London’s largest ball room and former ice-rink and music hall performer, Jan Hunt, entertained with song. Local ballroom dancer Rashmi Becker and her partner, Nuno Sabroso, performed a special ballroom quickstep and a contemporary Latin dance.
A 3rd of last year’s guests said they rarely get out of the house with 86% saying that they met new people and felt part of their community as a result of the event.
104-year-old Lillian collected a bumper Christmas hamper kindly donated by Fortnum and Mason, for graciously leading the years as the oldest resident in attendance. She said: “I look forward to the Tea Dance every year. It’s wonderful to see nearly 1,000 people on the dance floor with help from the police cadets ensuring everyone has a partner! Thanks to the organisers, the day is very special.”
Mr Anthony Mann, 88-years-young and local resident added: “Absolutely great day out. It’s only the 2nd year I’ve been along and the music was incredible. We are treated like kings, many thanks to Councillor Flight and her team who put on a spectacular bash.”
Cllr Christabel Flight, founder of the Tea Dance and Older People’s Champion at Westminster City Council, said: “The Tea Dance is one of the highlights of the year for many people. It provides the opportunity to get out of the house, meet with old friends and make new ones. Many thanks to all of the volunteers on the day and of course to the Grosvenor House, who make us feel very welcome every year.
“Loneliness is an issue for many older people in particular and I hope that the Tea Dance can help to alleviate feelings of isolation, even if only for an afternoon.”
For more information on services for older people at Westminster City Council, get in touch with one of our community hubs.