Barry Cryer backs The Big Issue’s Caring at Christmas campaign

The veteran funnyman says that we should reach out to those on their own this Christmas

  Barry Cryer
Comedy titan and top chap Barry Cryer insists he’s enjoying being an oldie at Yuletide, but like The Big Issue’s Caring at Christmas campaign, he says we should spare a thought for those who are less lucky.

“Well I’m lucky, I’ve got a big plan,” the 78-year-old said. “The Big Issue knows about this – loneliness is the most awful thing. And I was spared, been dogged by good luck all my life. We’ve got four children and seven grandchildren, so it’s a big family.

“With the extended family – the in-laws and the outlaws – we’ve got huge group photographs. Very lucky. We’re going to be moving about quite a lot at Christmas. It’s a family thing and I’m so grateful for it.

“The build-up to Christmas gets to me a bit: the frenzy, the rushing about, people going, ‘Oh, I haven’t bought that present and blah blah blah.’ You can feel it in the air, you can smell it.

“I retreat a bit, back from the frenzy. But once it’s arrived I love it. It starts so early commercially, it seems they’re all cashing in very early on. But once it arrives and you pull up the drawbridge… if you’re lucky, as I am, to have a family and a whole gang… I love every minute of it.”

Nearly half a million British pensioners will be alone at Christmas this year and a survey by Age UK showed that 26 per cent of older people are not looking forward to the holiday this year, with many citing the heart-aching memories of those who have passed away.

However, it’s not too late to extent a simple hand of friendship, possibly towards an isolated neighbour or perhaps a local support group. Read more about how you can help this festive period.

You can read a full interview with Barry Cryer in this week’s Big Issue Christmas special, on sale now