For many of us, Sunday is a day to relax with friends and family and enjoy Sunday lunch before re-starting the working week - but for 1 million people aged 65 and over in Britain, Sunday is the loneliest day of the week.

The research, conducted by older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS), shows that loneliness experienced by older people is compounded by lack of contact with their family, 13 per cent always feel lonely on a Sunday because it’s such a family day.

Previous research by the charity found that, for 10 per cent of older people, their nearest child lives more than an hour’s drive away (40 miles plus), making that daily or weekly contact even more difficult.

The survey also revealed that 33 per cent of older people miss sitting down to a meal with their family and 37 per cent of older people don’t enjoy eating a meal without being able to share it with someone.

The research, conducted by ICM on behalf of RVS, is released as the charity launches the Big Sunday Lunch, a campaign supported by Yakult, running from February 7 to 9, encouraging members of the British public to host a meal and invite along older friends, family or neighbours to raise money to help older people in their community.

Big Sunday Lunch is supported by culinary legend Albert Roux and his son, MasterChef presenter and 2 Michelin star Chef Michel Roux Jnr.

Albert Roux said: “Food is a really important way of bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company and have a great time.

“It can be all too easy to take for granted the pleasure of sharing food; many older people don’t have the luxury of enjoying a meal with their family or friends.

“Holding a Big Sunday Lunch event is a great excuse to gather your nearest and dearest to enjoy breaking bread together and raise money to help tackle loneliness among older people at the same time.”