Generations Together – started by King’s students Becky Lawrence and Kitty Murphy – is a student-led project which very much does what it says on the tin. The aim is to unite senior citizens and university students to indulge in a common interest: having fun.
Their final event of the student calendar took place in South London, not far from Guy’s campus, where they normally have coffee mornings during the academic year. A sing-along was on the agenda for the event. Through the magic of the internet, a professional pianist found out about it and was keen on playing the tunes live.
Students, largely from Guy’s campus, set the room up and brought round teas, coffees, cake and biscuits, as well as sandwiches. If that hadn’t satisfied everyone enough, everyone was more than willing to sit down and have a chat with one another. Conversations were had around the room about all sorts; the pace of life in London; The Carpenters; the worst haircuts in politics (Donald Trump, Boris Johnson) and where everyone came from.
I was sat with two particularly charming women, Kathy and Judy, who both had parents from Ireland. It was interesting for me to be speaking to two people whose lives were changed before they began by economic migration. Hailing from Karachi, Pakistan myself, I was struck that myself and these ladies shared more than one would think at first glance; after all, we’re all in England largely because of the history of England’s interventions in our mother countries. This was only a pithy observation, as Judy said to me during our conversation about haircuts, “Let’s steer well clear from politics, especially Brexit!”
The whole thing ended how it began, with Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” sang for a second time. You can’t knock a classic. No group enjoyed it more perhaps than the choir group closest to the piano. The pianist, in good spirits, “awarded” them the title of best singers, much to the mock dismay of the others who laughingly bemoaned the “choir lot” winning a singing competition.
There will be a fundraiser next month for the project, to help pay for things like food and pianists. If like me, you don’t have many people in your life over a certain age, or you simply enjoy good company and great conversations, you can volunteer then or in September for Generations Together. There are simply so many good reasons, not least of which the opportunity to learn about life from people who’ve lived it, understanding attitudes removed from the millennial bubble and helping in your own small way to make people feel less lonely in a city that induces that feeling all too easily.