Diving judge Lindsey heads to Japan but pledges to keep up with our befriending scheme

Diving judge Lindsey heads to Japan but pledges to keep up with our befriending scheme

Our volunteer and world-renowned diving coach and judge Lindsey Fraser from Southampton headed out to Japan on April 28, for the FINA Diving World Cup 2021.

Despite having a judging role at the event, Lindsey says she will stay in contact with our service users who she telephone befriended in lockdown, as she knows how vital this is.

The Olympian, who represented Britain twice at the Olympics and has also competed at the Commonwealth Games, says: “From May 1-6, the best divers from around the world will compete in Tokyo from the 3m springboard and 10m platform in both individual and synchronised events to become World Cup champions.

“The FINA Diving World Cup 2021 also serves as a qualifying competition for diving at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. Among the hopefuls is Tanya Watson from Southampton, representing Ireland, who is aiming to successfully qualify for the Olympic Games. It’s going to be very exciting for everyone involved.

“I will be continuing my befriending, as best I can, while I am out there by using WhatsApp, as I appreciate how important it is to the Communicare members who I have befriended while we were on lockdown, and I was furloughed from work, to have regular contact.”

Someone who will be keen to have updates from Lindsey while she’s away is Communicare service user Mark Compton who struggles with depression and is a wheelchair user due to severe back pain.

Lindsey adds: “In the first lockdown I became a telephone befriender for Communicare. I was allocated Bob and I talk to him once a week. In September, I was asked by the charity if I would also call Mark, as they thought I might be able to help him.

“Mark is in his 50s. He lives with his wife, who supports him, but she works full-time. Mark used to be in the forces and was very active. He is an avid Saints fan and was a National Pool Champion and referee up until 2014. Unfortunately, his back pain hindered him from continuing with this. He is also an art lover and draws portraits. Mark has a lot of challenges. I talk to him once a week, for around 20-30 minutes.”

The calls that Lindsey and other Communicare volunteers make support isolated or vulnerable people in the city.

Mark says: “I want to wish Lindsey all the best for the Diving World Cup. It’s really exciting to be so close to the action in Japan via my link with Lindsey and I am looking forward to hearing from her while she is away.

“I enjoy having Lindsey as a telephone pal, as she has experience of ex-forces people, so she understands the sense of humour that goes with that and I don’t have to explain myself. She is also a very helpful and an interesting person. We have mutual interests. I like her upbeat approach to life and the way she is forward thinking. Anybody ringing for a chat is good and her calls have been very good for me.”

Communicare’s service is particularly important with the current on-going pandemic, which is preventing people from socialising as normal, which can have an impact on their physical health and mental wellbeing.

We are delighted that volunteers like Lindsey, who have been furloughed through each lockdown are able to continue supporting the charity and its service users when they return to work.

Manager, Annie Clewlow says: “Lindsey has been a wonderful support to us in the past year and we’d like to extend our thanks to her and, also, wish her good luck on her trip.

“We’re looking for more kind-hearted people, like Lindsey. The feedback we’ve had from people like Mark, has been fantastic and shows the real difference a regular phone call can make. Volunteers need access to a phone and internet.”

Lindsey adds: “Telephone befriending gives both people involved something to look forward to each week. It doesn’t take up much time but is highly valuable to both of us. It’s been relatively easy to fit it into my normal week, even though I am now fully back at work.”

Photograph of Lindsey Fraser with thanks to Chris Moorhouse.