02 December 2019 18:42

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Imelda Staunton and husband Jim Carter are supporting Silver Line Imelda, 63, better known as Professor Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter films, and Jim, 71, the redoubtable butler Mr Carson from Downton Abbey, will join a galaxy of stars in London. While the annual festive celebration is a magical start to Christmas it has a serious aim. All money raised will go to supporting The Silver Line, Britain's only around-the-clock telephone helpline for lonely and isolated older people. Imelda said: "At a time when the media are filled with pictures of happy friends and families celebrating together I know Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year for many thousands of older people who are entirely on their own. "For them The Silver Line are the only friends they can speak to over the holiday period, who will remember them, wish them a Happy Christmas and make them feel valued.

Downton’s Jim Carter and wife Imelda Staunton urge public to help the lonely at Christmas

"That is why Jim and I are glad to be able to support this crucial work by taking part in the Silver Line concert. Nobody should feel totally alone and desperately lonely over Christmas." The Silver Christmas Celebration takes place at St Marylebone Parish Church at 6:30pm and features an evening of carols, festive music and seasonal readings. Charity supporter Miriam Margolyes, 78, who played Professor Pomona Sprout in Harry Potter will be joined by Shaun Dooley who will perform his BBC Children in Need song Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift. The feast of Christmas music and humorous and classic readings will also include performances by opera star Carly Paoli and the renowned Marylebone Church Choir. Host Dame Esther, 79, will be joined by her former That's Life! presenter Adrian Mills and DJ Jo Good in an evening dedicated to raising crucial funds to support the work of the charity she founded in 2013 which offers friendship and support and now receives more than 10,000 calls a week. Dame Esther said: "This incredibly special event is the perfect way to capture the Christmas spirit and at the same time support isolated and lonely older people across the UK. "At this time of year seeing images of happy families all around us can accentuate their agonizing feeling of loneliness. The thousands of older people who call our helpline are absolutely on their own, many with nobody to wish them well over Christmas. "For them this is the loneliest time of year. Each Christmas I call around 30 people on Christmas Day to reassure them that they are not forgotten.