Why do you think loneliness amongst older people is an important issue to raise awareness of?
I believe Christmas is a time that from childhood we all associate with family and a sense of belonging and a special time of the year. For those older people not fortunate enough to have their own family or friends left it can feel terribly lonely as everything we watch on TV is family related. TV adverts, films, chat shows. They highlight the loneliness that the individual people may be feeling already. It's so important we all take the time to look around us and think about who may be less fortunate than us in terms of being alone. Maybe ask a neighbour if they have everything they need or something as simple as asking them how they are? It takes no time and means such a lot. 

What do you think are the important ingredients that are needed for someone to have a great quality of life no matter what their age?
I have always tried to remain as positive as I can and to laugh and think of others. There are the obvious things like eating well and exercise however a happy and resilient outlook always help. Even through the very dark times in our life we can still remain upbeat and determined to overcome the challenges that life throws at us. And if you can remain smiling through those times I've found it has always helped me. And having time for others.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you've been given in your life?
My parents both always taught me to be respectful and nice to people and try not to hold grudges. Remember that all of us can mess up at times and to have an open mind to forgiveness. As an actress the best advice I received was to always know my lines, be on time and disciplined and respect the public who watch our shows. After all I chose to enter show-business and there is a sense of duty to the people who keep you in work.

What do you do to keep yourself busy?
I am very fortunate that I still get asked to work although I am turning 80 years old in 2017, so I tend to be on the go quite a lot. In between work I like to keep up on what’s going on the world so I read 5 newspapers a day (real papers and not digital screens) and watch my favourite TV shows (and of course that includes Eastenders). Also I like going to the theatre and seeing shows as that is my first love.

Why do you think it's important to volunteer for a good cause in your spare time?
Because it is very rewarding to help other people. So many people now give up their time in various ways to try and make a difference to others. It is very rewarding to the volunteer as well as the people you are helping. I have always tried to be involved in charity throughout my life and for actors it's a wonderful way to pay back if your presence can help a cause in some way. It is always a great way of meeting a diverse mix of people you may never have known. And when all's said and done, why would we all not want to help someone else if we can?