September 2 2014 Latest news:

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Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael has joined forces with an elderly support charity to deliver a video message for an online advent calendar.

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Islington resident Miss Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith in the television drama, has recorded the message to raise awareness of Contact the Elderly and its vintage tea party campaign, which will go out on December 18.

The charity, which strives to relieve the loneliness of elderly people, organises free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for people over 75 at volunteers’ homes.

Each day leading up to Christmas, members of the public will be able to view video messages and listen to audio stories from the charity’s older guests and volunteers on its website.

Miss Carmichael said: “My grandparents were hugely influential in my life. As a family, we witnessed the difficulties of growing older and the feeling of losing one’s independence.

“The difference companionship can make to the life of an older person is immeasurable and I believe Contact the Elderly is a wonderful way of combating loneliness.”

Contact the Elderly’s North London Development Officer, Izzy Wise urged people to help run the tea parties in Islington, and to look after its older residents.

She said: “Anyone who can spare a few hours one Sunday a month, has a driving licence, a car and a capacity for drinking tea, is eligible.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer in Islington can contact Ms Wise on 020 8445 1333 or email izzy.wise@contact-the-elderly.org.uk

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