A grieving Nottinghamshire widow has overcome loneliness with the help of a charity befriender who saved her life.
Patricia Palmer-Harrington, 77, meets her volunteer, Morag Hunter, every Monday morning, following the death of her husband Fredrick in April.
Fredrick died of stomach cancer, which extended to his whole body, leaving Patricia, a former legal secretary, on her own.
Rushcliffe Community and Voluntary Service helped her combat loneliness, with the help of a befriending volunteer.
Let’s celebrate #BefriendingWeek 1-7 Nov!
Watch Doug, our Befriending Coordinator talk to the BBC about the benefits of becoming a volunteer befriender. Info about Befriending https://t.co/BksE4lfglu #BefriendingIs ❤️Caring❤️ pic.twitter.com/Z9iRneUKeT
— Rushcliffe CVS (@RushcliffeCVS) November 3, 2022
Patricia, who lives in Rushcliffe, said: “I’m on my own all the time, I’ve got no family.
“When you’re on your own you appreciate any contact with the outside world.
“The death of my husband is still a bit raw and my befriender helped me get things out in the open, so that I’m not always thinking about it and building it up inside me.
“Having this service with Rushcliffe is marvellous because it means that I get to see someone every week.”
Rushcliffe Community and Voluntary Service has been helping communities improve their wellbeing and has assisted thousands of senior citizens since 1984.
The charity has so far helped almost 800 vulnerable people since March, while volunteers have made about 16,500 journeys in the last four months.
Volunteers are asked to commit to an hour once a week or once a fortnight for at least six months to support senior citizens who are at risk of social isolation because of their age, disability, or health condition.
“i really enjoy making just a small differnece to their life” – Morag, RCVS Befriender
Morag, 68, from West Bridgford, says that her friendship with Patricia has been mutually beneficial.
The now retired University of Nottingham Professor of Reproductive Physiology said: “When someone says something like ‘I really look forward to your visit’ it makes you feel good.
“I really enjoy getting to know my client and making just a small difference to their life.
“The actual befriending has never been hard.
“The only thing is the first lady I’ve befriended was very old and she died which was very sad because we had a very good relationship and she always said she had a good life.”
Following Befriending Week, which took place between November 1 and 7, Rushcliffe Community and Voluntary Service has launched an urgent appeal for new volunteers.
Besides the befriending service, the charity also offers a voluntary transport service, as well as a housekeeping one.
Doug Lister, South Nottingham Befriending Service Coordinator, said: “Our voluntary drivers and our befriending service help elderly people get used to social life again.
“Some elderly people are still anxious about going out of their own homes after the pandemic, so we have volunteers visiting people at home and helping them reengage with society.
“We also have volunteers taking people to the library or to a coffee shop to further help them adjust to post-pandemic life.”
To find out more information about the Rushcliffe Community and Voluntary Service or to become a volunteer call 0115 969 9060 or email email@example.com.