Wetherby widower hail’s WiSE befriending scheme’s loneliness support

A lonely Wetherby widower has hailed the support he’s had from a charity befriending scheme, ahead of a major national awareness week.

Peter Haddsley, aged 87, missed the company of his wife Christine when she sadly passed away several years ago.

That prompted his granddaughter to contact the town’s leading older persons charity Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE).

Peter was then matched with WiSE volunteer Mike Brannen, aged 75- and now the charity is using their story to help mark national Befriending Week (1 to 7 November).

Peter said: “When my wife passed away, I wanted a bit more company. We were married for 57 years, so it was a big change.

“In my younger years, I used to work in a bank and was very active. But now I have limited mobility, so I’m not able to leave the house much. Once a week my carer takes me to Morrison’s for a shop. She also comes three times a day to help me get out of bed, to give me my medication and to put me to bed.

“Although I have lots of entertainment at home with the TV and I get a lot of enjoyment from my garden, it can get lonely sometimes, so I always look forward to seeing Mike. He’s a good friend, a good pal – and thankfully he doesn’t eat too many biscuits!”

Mike signed up as a befriender after learning about the scheme through his wife’s friend, Jill, who used to work at WiSE.

Mike said: “I have been a befriender for WiSE for the last four years. Initially I visited a gentleman who is unfortunately now in a care home out of the area. I was then matched with Peter.

“It’s always a pleasure to see him – I consider him one of my good friends. We talk easily about our careers, families and holidays in the past. We always have something to talk about and we always have something to say.

“I find Peter very interesting. I’ve lived in Wetherby for a very long time and have seen it change over the years. He’s really opened my eyes to the history of our town.

“I’m so glad I joined the befriending scheme. I like to think that maybe I’m doing some good and that I’m good company for Peter who doesn’t get about like he used to.”

WiSE’s befriending service matches an isolated older or vulnerable person living alone with a volunteer who gives up their time to regularly provide friendly conversation and companionship in the person’s own home.

Where possible, matches are made based on shared interests and both parties living in the same area. Once a befriending match has been made, each person is introduced in the company of one of our coordinators.

If you are interested in befriending an older person and would like to find out more, phone 01937 588994, or email volunteering@w-ise.org.uk. Visit www.w-ise.org.uk/our-services/#befriending for more information.

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