Pensioner, 86, left lonely after wife's death invited for lunch with nearby school kids

Andy WellsFreelance Writer
Cyril enjoys a warm-cooked dinner amongst the schoolchildren at Coombe Dean Secondary School in Plymouth (SWNS)
Cyril enjoys a warm-cooked dinner amongst the schoolchildren at Coombe Dean Secondary School in Plymouth (SWNS)

A lonely widower who struggled to cope after the death of his wife has had a new lease of life - by having lunch at a nearby school with teenage pupils.

Pensioner Cyril Aggett, 86, struggled with the lack of company after the passing of wife Shirley six years ago.

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The acute pain of being alone hit him the moment he closed his front door after her funeral, and he admitted he sometimes didn’t get up until 2pm.

Cyril Aggett has been invited for lunch with schoolchildren every day after losing his wife (SWNS)
Cyril Aggett has been invited for lunch with schoolchildren every day after losing his wife (SWNS)

Grandfather Cyril lives near the school gates and when puplis realised they had not seen him about as usual and they gave him a call to see if he was OK.

They invited him to have lunch with them at Coombe Dean Secondary School in Plymouth in Devon - and he is now a regular face in the canteen, enjoying a a warm-cooked dinner with the rest of the school.

Cyril mingles and chats with staff and pupils during lunch-time four times a week and said it has been a lifeline for him.

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Sharing his experiences with loneliness as part of Plymouth Live's Be A Friend campaign, Cyril said: "When I first came here I was down in the dumps.

"I get a cup of tea, my lunch and good service. Everybody talks to me, the office staff is brilliant.”

Cyril said that in the past year, he had a spell of not wanting to get out of bed, but visiting the school has helped get his love for life back.

Cyril mingles and chats with staff and pupils during lunch-time four times a week (SWNS)
Cyril mingles and chats with staff and pupils during lunch-time four times a week (SWNS)
Coombe Dean Secondary School in Plymouth, where Mr Aggett is regularly treated as a guest. (SWNS)
Coombe Dean Secondary School in Plymouth, where Mr Aggett is regularly treated as a guest. (SWNS)

He added: "A couple of months ago, I wasn't really getting up until about 2pm in the afternoon, it was lovely weather and I couldn't be bothered.

"I think Shirley must have said 'pull your socks up you know'. Coming down here has brought me out of my shell again.”

Cyril, a retired bespoke shoe maker, went on: "It can be very lonely [living alone]. Once you go inside that door.

For a month after his wife's death Cyril could not bring himself to leave the house (SWNS)
For a month after his wife's death Cyril could not bring himself to leave the house (SWNS)

"I come down here and see the children, a lot of them talk to me, there's one young man that comes up and makes sure he talks to me.

"I love the company and the noise. Once I go indoors and I close those doors down, there's nothing.

"It's mayhem really, it's good. I'd be lost if I didn't come down here."

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