Vera is an astonishingly fit and alert 97-year-old who still loves to go folk dancing and volunteers in her local Oxfam shop.  She met volunteer driver Elaine through her local St Albans tea party group. 

Vera started going to Re-engage tea parties in St Albans ten years ago after her husband, Peter, an electronics engineer, died. They had been married for 65 years.

“I don’t like to sit around so when a friend told me about the tea parties I thought I would try them,” said Vera. “Sundays are the days you tend to see families out and about and the tea parties are my way of having some social contact. No matter how long ago Peter died, I always miss him.

“I have one daughter who lives in Cheshire and another in America and while they keep in  touch, I have no immediate family around me.

“I started folk dancing with my husband about 50 years ago and as I still enjoy it so much, I don’t see any reason to stop. I’m not on any medication and feel well, so why not carry on with things that keep you active?

“The tea parties are pleasant events and provide stimulation. It’s always good to catch up with the other guests and have a chat. They are relaxing afternoons. And then on other Sundays I can get on with my volunteering work. I price-up all the jewelry that my local Oxfam shop sells.

“I have a pretty full life and the tea parties are an important part of it.”

Elaine became a volunteer driver for Re-engage eight years ago after spotting an advert in a local magazine. She lives with her partner in St Albans and works for a pharmaceuticals company.

“Driving guests to tea parties is a very positive aspect of my life and also provides a valuable service to others. You realise you’re doing something worthwhile when you see what lovely events the tea parties are and the enjoyment the guests get out of them.

“I often drive Vera and she’s certainly an inspirational person. She’s happy, positive and never gives the impression she’s feeling down about anything. She’s quite incredible for her age and seems to keep very active.

“I like driving the guests to parties as it’s something completely different to what I normally do. It’s good to see them getting along together and it’s also nice to get to know other drivers.

“Because she’s so active, Vera knows quite a few people and has introduced some of them to our tea party group. That’s a very positive thing as they then have shared interests and can chat easily about things they have in common.

“There’s no doubt volunteering for Re-engage has been a very good add-on in my life.”

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0800 716543

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