Former Formula One engineer talks about befriending the elderly in Amber Valley

Stuart George (the befriender) right with Alan Searson
Stuart George (the befriender) right with Alan Searson

Loneliness is blighting the lives of some older people in Amber Valley.

We want to make it stop with our community campaign which aims to get more people involved in befriending.

This week volunteer Stuart George has spoken about why he got involved with the scheme and how it is changing lives.

Stuart 72, a retired Formula One engineer from Codnor saw an advertisement calling for volunteers in a Ripley pub.

He said: “I saw a sign that read there are elderly people in the area that don’t see people for days on end and I thought it just seemed odd.”

He added: “I finished off my pint and I crossed the market place to Amber Valley CVS’s offices and asked them how I could help.”

Stuart was paired up with a couple of men from Belper - a 95-year-old and an 88-year-old.

He said: “I see them individually once a week and they’re both brilliant company.

“All I have to do is give around two hours of my week up to sit and have a chat with them and it’s always an absolute pleasure to do.”

Amber Valley CVS staff say even just one hour a week can make a big difference to those living in isolation.

Each befriender is matched with an elderly person who lives nearby and shares similar interests.

Stuart added: “These people only get to see the postman through the glass and their carer who is always in a rush to leave for the next job.

“Spending time with this gentleman make me realise how jolly lucky I am.

“I think you have to see it as a two way street, everyone takes something away from it.”

If you’re interested in becoming a befriender with Amber Valley CVS contact Kerry Smith on 01773 512706.