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'World's oldest comedian' stands up for canines against loneliness in Stoke Newington

PUBLISHED: 11:38 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:38 07 August 2019

Lynn Ruth Miller performing at Pets Against Loneliness Event with Goldie and Missy the Golden Retriever. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PAL

Lynn Ruth Miller performing at Pets Against Loneliness Event with Goldie and Missy the Golden Retriever. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PAL

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The "world's oldest comedian" performed a dog-centric set at a charity event in Stoke Newington on Saturday.

Lynn Ruth Miller at Pets Against Loneliness Event. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PALLynn Ruth Miller at Pets Against Loneliness Event. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PAL

American-born Lynn Ruth Miller, 85 of Stamford Hill, first started stand-up comedy 16 years ago while covering a story as a freelance writer and ended up performing around the globe in Cambodia and Singapore and appearing on Britain's Got Talent.

Volunteers from Pets Against Loneliness (PAL) bring together older members of the community on the first Saturday of the month for mornings of cake, conversation, and canine company at St Matthias Halls and invited Lynn along to share some stories.

Lynn said: "When I was 36 years old I was diagnosed with a terminal illness because I couldn't digest any food and I went home and waited around to die and nothing happened."

She got a dog to force her to get out of the house after a severe case of anorexia and said the dog saved her life.

Labrador Themba and terrier mix Chippie with volunteers and members of Pets Against Loneliness. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PALLabrador Themba and terrier mix Chippie with volunteers and members of Pets Against Loneliness. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PAL

Lynn said: "I really believe dogs have healing powers."

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PAL was founded by NHS research scientist Lyn Ambrose in March 2018 to bring people together and help alleviate loneliness.

Ms Ambrose said: "The reason I set it up is because I love animals an awful lot, and I've seen in the faces of elderly people how much they light up when they interact with pets."

Members of Pets Against Loneliness. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PALMembers of Pets Against Loneliness. Picture: Lyn Ambrose, PAL

She said the events are beneficial for everyone because dog owners need to take their pets out for a walk and the elderly people are happy for the companionship.

Dog owner Annie brought along her Spanish greyhound, Abbie, which she rescued two years ago.

She said: "I feel like Abbie saved me as much as I rescued her."

Of the many jobs that Lynn has had over the years from writer, professor and reporter she has connected with stand up the most and credits her reception in London for revitalising her career.

She said: "I believe the way you age is a choice. When you do something you love there's no effort involved and you can do it forever."

Lynn Ruth Miller is performing at the Underbelly Festival on the Southbank on August Sunday at 7.15pm. Tickets can be bought here.

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