Lonely man, 86, eats at school 4 times a week to stop him being ‘down in dumps’

An 86-year-old man eats at a school four times a week to stop him being 'down in the dumps'.

Cyril Aggett and his wife used to go for lunch together at the school – and it became a vital place for him to socialise after she died six years ago.

Cyril shut himself away for a month after her death, although he returned to the Plymouth school after staff called on him to check he was okay.

Now, the granddad mingles with staff and pupils at Coombe Dean Secondary School four times a week, Plymouth Live reports.

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Cyril has shared his experiences with loneliness as part of Plymouth Live's Be A Friend campaign.

"When I first came here I was down in the dumps," Cyril said.

"I get a cup of tea, my lunch and good service. Everybody talks to me, the office staff is brilliant and even when my wife was ill, they took dinners up to her.

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"My wife was there one minute and then I couldn't talk to her because she was under sedation all the time."

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.

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.

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"I think Shirley must have said 'pull your socks up you know'.

"Coming down here has brought me out of my shell again."

The Coombe Dean lunch ladies will make Cyril extra batches of sausage rolls, pasties and apple crumble for during the school holidays, so he can freeze them.

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"I don't think they should go on holiday actually," he joked.

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

"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.

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"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."

Cyril said he tries to combat loneliness through music.

He said: "Luckily I've got a lot of music and I've just bought myself a new music centre, so I can play the records from the 20s up to the 70s.

"If I get fed up, I just put the music on and just sort of enjoy it. It's the music that I like, not the modern stuff."

Plymouth Live is working with Age UK Plymouth for its Be A Friend Christmas campaign, which focuses around loneliness in the elderly.

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