Strictly Come Dancing legend Arlene Phillips has surprised customers of a food delivery service – by teaching staff to dance to the Morecambe and Wise classic “Bring Me Sunshine” as they carried out orders.
The former judge of the BBC talent show teamed up with Wiltshire Farm Foods to give 10 delivery drivers pointers on how to “cha-cha-cha” as they distributed meals to delighted recipients.
Staff members were treated to a dance lesson with Arlene before delivering meals, as part of the brand’s “bringing sunshine” initiative, to help bring joy to its customers during the cold winter months.
It comes after a study of 2,000 adults, also commissioned by Wiltshire Farm Foods, found a third of over 65s haven’t had a meaningful interaction in more than four weeks.
Dame Arlene Phillips said: “It is absolutely shocking how many people don’t have any communication with another human being for weeks on end.
“Loneliness is a real blight on society and is something most, if not all of us, suffer from time-to-time.
“So, when I got the chance to bring a little sunshine back into peoples’ lives with a good old song and dance routine, I jumped at the opportunity.
“And the drivers did really well – 10s all round from me.”
Loughborough-based delivery driver Paul Wells said: “I’m not normally much of a dancer but I am fan of Strictly, so thought I would give it ago.
“To get dancing tips from Arlene Phillips was amazing and I thought I did okay. Lizzie [my customer] seemed to enjoy it when I delivered her meals, so that was great.
“I hope my invite to take part in the next series of Strictly doesn’t get lost in the post.”
The study also found over half (54 per cent) of the adults polled have felt lonely at some point within the last month.
And they typically experience feelings of social isolation around two days a week.
Around a quarter believe social media and other forms of digital communication, rather than bringing people together, are partly to blame for the apparent rise in loneliness.
But one in five said speaking to people face-to-face has become an increasingly rare occurrence for them.
In a similar vein, 59 per cent worry they’ll become increasingly afflicted themselves as they get older.
Of those, more than half are concerned they’ll lose contact with friends, and four in 10 worry they’ll have to live on their own one day.
It also emerged that a third (34 per cent) are anxious that loved ones such as their own children will be too busy to visit them.
And they might have good reason to feel this way – as a fifth of the over 65s polled admitted they would like it if relatives checked in on them more.
However, there is good news as the study, carried out via OnePoll, found half of those aged 65 plus have attempted to tackle loneliness themselves – with around a fifth taking up dancing.
And 22 per cent of people in this age group said this pastime helps them feel less socially isolated.
Psychologist Emma Kenny said: “Loneliness is an emotionally prompt and is telling the individual experiencing it that they need to find a source of connection.
“This is why a fifth of the over 65s who took up dancing noted that they felt happier and less alone.
“Dancing is an excellent exercise which is fantastic for increasing the happiness index, and spending time with other people on both a one-on-one and group level combats feelings of isolation.”
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