Valentine’s Day has, to my mind, become very much a commercial opportunity. Maybe I had too many disappointments when I was a teenager! The postman never seemed to bring me cards and I remember how hurt I felt. So rather than concentrate your love only on your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, why not try to share some love around and make our world just a little happier.

Social media is all too often full of negative stories or rants about this and that. It has been heart warming therefore to read a couple of positive threads recently which show how far a little thought, kindness and consideration can go. Keys lost and found, wallets found and returned, cats lost and found. People full of thanks and relief. We need to encourage more of that.

Maybe you could take a card round to a neighbour who would appreciate some company. Or take a lonely friend out for tea. There are several groups highlighted in this issue who offer coffee mornings to help combat loneliness in our society. We can all play our part. The effect on a lonely person will be much longer lasting than a red rose.

Christmas is a time when many people feel isolated and lonely. So this year Mr C and I, along with a close friend, decided to volunteer to help out at the annual Christmas Day lunch (yes, this is us, dressed up in festive gear). We met so many people who would have been by themselves on the day. One gentleman had lost his wife only 2 months before.

I could not understand why his family had not made it a priority to invite him for Christmas, but he would have been staring at the walls by himself, thinking about all the friends and neighbours enjoying themselves. But we made sure he had a good time. The Greeno Centre* hosted a fantastic lunch made and served by volunteers. This annual event is put on by the churches of Shepperton. They put on a quiz, carol singing and a raffle so that everyone went home with a present. We certainly felt that we spread some love and happiness that day and we were not alone.

We are happy to share a message of thanks from the organisers:

“A very BIG THANK YOU to all our supporters and volunteers who have once again given generously to make our Christmas Day Community Lunch, a very special day for over 75 people.
Photographs and thank you’s are now on display at the library.
May we wish you a Happy & Peaceful New Year .
Stephen, Caroline, Jon, Peter, Jo, Sandy, Pam, Simon, Orla, David and Jill, the Team”

Love and care is not just for Christmas and not just for Valentine’s Day. Why not find out how you can spread a little love. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities. Maybe pop down to the Rotary Charity Fair on March 16th at the village hall and see how you could get involved in a local volunteering scheme.

We do live in a lovely place and we can all do our bit to make it even kinder. So this Valentine’s Day, spread a little love and kindness amongst those who need it most.