Gordon, who is 77, was a professional photographer for many years and has led a rich and varied life. He has lived alone since his wife died. During the pandemic he was matched with Gareth, who retired last September, and they found that they have more than a shared love of photography in common.
Gordon: I don’t think that Re-engage could have found a more perfect match for me.
“Gareth and I are both keen photographers. Many years ago, I was a graphic arts camera operator, as well as a professional photographer, and I’ve been able to offer Gareth advice as we’ve come to know each other.
“He’s a very caring person. He rings me every Tuesday and when he can’t get hold of me he seems genuinely worried. I feel as though he really cares about me.
“Gareth and I get on really well together and we’ve discovered that we have more than our shared interests in common. He used to work close to where I once lived; I suppose there’s a chance that we may even have met each other.
“I’m an animal lover and in the past, I’ve had all sorts of animals: fish, rats, exotic birds, a tarantula and even a boa constrictor. Today Darky my cat keeps me company and I adore him. He’s changed my life, really.
“Although I’m happy and I’m lucky enough to have a nice home, I do get lonely sometimes and my disability can make it difficult to get out and about. Gareth has become a true friend and I don’t think that Re-engage could have found a more perfect match for me”.
Gareth: Loneliness is so prevalent today that Re-engage felt like an obvious fit for me.
“My mantra is ‘must do more’ and I've always felt it's important to give something back to others.
“Gordon and I never run out of things to talk about. I give him a word, or a concept, and off he goes! We always have a laugh too.
“Unlike Gordon, I’ve never been a professional photographer, but photography is one of my hobbies and I specialise in photographs of butterflies and Commonwealth War Graves.
“We also share a love of cooking, steam railways and wine. Our conversations are so lively and there’s never a pause or an awkward moment.
“Gordon is a sparky and feisty character and he’s done so much with his life. He has a tremendous spirit of ‘get up and go’ and he’s also very practical; he’ll fix anything if it’s possible. He goes everywhere on his scooter, and he travels for miles and miles.
“I feel very fortunate in having Gordon as my call companion. I speak to him every Tuesday and it often feels like we only spoke the day before.”
Our tea parties are back
The Thurrock Re-engage tea party group 1 got together for their first tea party after eighteen long months apart during the pandemic. There were celebrations all around as the group toasted their sixth anniversary as well as the 99th birthday of one tea party guest.
A very happy friendship
Over thirty years ago, as a member of the WI, Bernie and others hosted an annual tea party for Re-engage at her village hall in Essex. When we launched our call companion service during lockdown last year, she got in touch and was matched with call companion Naomi and found a very happy friendship.