Being widowed can be a lonely experience for those affected, but a new organisation is looking to help widows get an active social life.

Jolly Dollies Social Network for Widows was set up by Yvonne Vann, 66, who felt very isolated after her husband died.

“My husband had a rare neurological disorder and I spent all my time nursing him, so when he died I had no friends and no real social skills.

“It was after meeting another widow that the idea for Jolly Dollies was formed.

“I felt so alone after my husband died and I was sure that other women would feel the same.

“It’s such a horrible feeling that you are alone and I was determined to do something to help others.”

Currently there are over 200 groups across the UK, with some in Essex, but Yvonne is encouraging widows from Braintree and Witham to start up groups.

“A lot of people are put off from starting their own group because they think it’s going to be a massive undertaking. However, it really isn’t as you only need to arrange a meeting every so often and the feeling you get from helping others is truly wonderful.”