Food Train delivers Christmas cheer to oldest customer Loreta, 102

A 102-year-old woman has said a special thank-you to volunteers ensuring she does not go without essential shopping supplies this Christmas.

Loreta Lockwood, of Dumfries, is the oldest member of Food Train, the charity that helps older people to eat well and live well in their own home.

The great-grandmother is among 650 people across the region who volunteer shoppers and delivery teams are ensuring are stocked up for the festive season.

Food Train’s team is pulling out all the stops to collect their Christmas grocery shopping – spreading a little cheer as they drop them off at their homes and enjoy a chat with them.

Mrs Lockwood, a former secretary who has lived in Dumfries for 20 years having lived in Gatehouse of Fleet for two decades before that, has had her shopping delivered by the charity for 12 years and is popular among the volunteers.

She said: “I’d like to thank the volunteers from Food Train. They’re really helpful because I struggle to get out – always so obliging. I couldn’t do without what they do and always look forward to speaking to them.

“I always appreciate it, but especially at this time of year when people are so busy.

“As well as getting my shopping, I’ve also had a befriender through Food Train in the past. Although she’s moved away, we still keep in-touch, which is nice. She even came to visit me on my birthday.

“If anyone is thinking about signing up to Food Train services, I’d say don’t hesitate – they are very good.”

Mrs Lockwood is planning a quiet Christmas at home, with one of her daughters travelling from Luxembourg to spend time with her. They will be joined by her brother, Father Ralph Mancini, who is also well-known in Dumfries through his work at St Andrew’s Church.

Isobel Henklemann, Regional Manager at Food Train, said: “Our volunteers love going in to see Loreta and having a chat with her. It’s lovely when people like her take a minute to say thanks for all that they do.

“Christmas can be a lonely time for some older people who struggle to get out of their homes, so it makes the chats to hand over shopping lists and visits from our volunteers even more important.

“Across the region, our teams are working really hard to ensure members have everything they need so that they can be comfortable and well-fed for the festive season. The work they do makes a significant positive difference to peoples’ lives.”

Meanwhile, older people, volunteers and staff enjoyed the first festive fundraising coffee morning to be held at the charity’s headquarters and community hub at English Street in Dumfries town centre.

The charity moved into the former Dumfries and Galloway Council building this summer, realising a 27-year dream to have a home of its own.

The coffee morning raised more than £200, as well as providing a great chance for older people, Food Train volunteers and staff members to get together for a Christmas chat.