Here is a heart warming story about the wonderful befriending relationship our volunteer Larry formed with our service user Don, who sadly recently passed away.
Larry fondly recounts:
About 3 ½ years ago I visited Don on behalf of Communicare in Southampton to assess him for us to supply him with a visiting friend. This process usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes, I did in fact stay about two hours with Don, and what a fun time we had! (People who live alone and do not have much contact can usually chat for England and Don could), as it happens so can I!
On leaving I explained that our Coordinator Bryony would be in touch when we found a suitable ‘friend’ for Don. Don replied ‘Could it be you?’ And the rest is a well documented fun time we spent together until Don died on the 23rd of December last year.
One of the fun times we had came from Don telling me that in his younger days he was a folk singer, and also was a fan of a humorous 1960s singer named Paddy Roberts who I quite enjoyed. Remembering a few of his numbers I took my guitar up many times (I can play four or five chords). We’d have a bottle of cider and laugh our way through some old stuff, song titles ‘The ballad of Bethnal Green’, ‘The lavender cowboy’ and my favourite ‘The belle of Barking creek’. (Yes, they are on YouTube).
The best that came out of our meeting was the joy and fun that WE BOTH got from our weekly meets (sometimes more often as Don lived very near me).
When Don died his daughter kindly invited me to attend the funeral which I reluctantly didn’t accept not just because of my age, but my very dodgy chest (mind you the rest of me is pretty dodgy too!).
After the funeral I had a call from Don’s daughter to say ‘Look on your doorstep Larry there is a small gift’. Don’s daughter used to tell me off for giving Don cider as he never stopped singing. So I was delighted to find on my doorstep a gift bag containing four bottles of ‘Westons vintage cider’ with a note reading ‘thanks for the friendship Larry, the last round is on me, Don’. Cue TEARS.
Photo caption: Larry (left) and Don