Goodwill hunting? Well take a look at city idea

Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

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Christmas spirit will start seven days early this year, with the launch of Portsmouth's first Goodwill Day.

The day - being held tomorrow - aims to kindle community spirit by encouraging people to look out for their neighbours.

Goodwill Day has been set up by Portsmouth City Council and is the first event of its kind.

The council wants people across the city to perform acts of kindness and generosity for vulnerable or lonely neighbours tomorrow.

Tory Councillor James Williams, who came up with the idea for what he hopes will be an annual event, explained: 'I come across a lot of people who just want someone to talk to because they are lonely.

'For a while I've been trying to think of a solution to the problem, and I think this is it.

'First of all, look to your neighbours. Make the effort to go and see someone.

'It's not so much about talking to people, but it's about listening to them. It doesn't cost a penny to be nice to someone.

'Portsmouth could be the flagship with this idea.

'Ultimately, I would hope other cities could use us as an example.

'It's not going to be huge right away, but I'm hoping it will get bigger each year.'

The idea has received the backing of every city councillor.

Sue Bryant is a shining example of how the power of goodwill can help others.

The 63-year-old takes the time to visit her neighbour Kathy Jones each week.

'A lot of my family live away so I don't get visitors very often,' said 93-year-old Kathy, of Plymouth Street, Somers Town.

'My husband died recently and it's nice to be able to make a new friend. I enjoy having Sue come to visit.'

Sue, a member of the Salvation Army's Good Neighbours scheme, said: 'I work part-time and spend the rest of my time visiting people like Kathy and joining in with things like the Street Pastor scheme in Guildhall Walk.

'I used to look after my mum until she died so looking after people is something I'm good at.

'I really enjoy it. You can find some amazing people.'