English couple inspire Archbishop’s free phone line for elderly lockdowns

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Claygate, England (ANS) – Thanks to a couple in Claygate in the South of England, millions of isolated elderly people now have a free phone line offering well-known hymns, prayers and worship services from the Church of England.

Those benefiting from a new Daily Hope free phone line – on 0800 804 8044 – include more than three million elderly with no access to the internet.

Archbishop Justin Welby and Pippa Cramer

The round-the-clock service is the idea of Pippa Cramer, 51. She leads Connections, one of the UK’s largest weekly gatherings for senior citizens based at Holy Trinity Claygate.

Pippa explains, “I was aware that more than half of those over 75 cannot use the internet to access the comfort offered through the worship churches are providing online. But I also knew almost all had a telephone and that this could be the answer.”

As a result, Pippa contacted Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – an enthusiastic supporter of Connections at Holy Trinity Claygate following his visit five years earlier. He also saw the need for a free phone line. Less than five weeks later Daily Hope was launched, with more than 6,000 calls in its first 48 hours.

Justin Welby says, “With many on lockdown, it’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are.”

Steve and Pippa Cramer

The Daily Hope phone line includes a series of popular hymns, each with some background on the hymn’s meaning and its composer. These come from Pippa’s husband Steve under the heading Hymns We Love.

Steve, 54, explains, “At Connections we found well-loved hymns brought comfort and hope to our seniors. This grew into Hymns We Love which is now also an important component of Daily Hope.”

The Daily Hope service is supported by the Church of England nationally as well as through the Connections group based at Holy Trinity Claygate in Surrey and the Christian charity Faith in Later Life.

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Peter Wooding
Peter Wooding is Senior Editor at Assist News Service and an award-winning radio, TV, and print journalist. Peter has worked as news editor at UCB Radio in the UK, and has reported from countries around the world including Israel, India, Russia, Serbia, South Sudan, Ukraine and Mozambique. Continuing his father Dan's legacy, Peter now leads the global expansion of ANS. He is also the London Bureau Chief for the Global News Alliance, Media and PR Officer for Leading The Way UK and UK Director for Mercy Projects. Peter lives in North Wales, UK, with his wife, Sharon, and their three daughters, Sarah, Anna and Abigail.