"When the phone rings, I just know that it is her" - How simply making a phone call can end loneliness

David StorkDavid Stork
David Stork
'When the phone rings, I just know that it is her', 87-year-old David Stork said, shooting a glance at his telephone almost expectantly.

Mr Stork has been using Age UK North Yorkshire’s confidential telephone befriending service for seven years, and over those seven years he has enjoyed forming a friendship with volunteer Vanessa, who he talks to regularly.

He said: “She can talk as much as me, which is a lot, trust me, and I tell her things that I would not be able to tell anybody else. I find that talking about one thing will always lead to another, and I really look forward to her calls, they brighten your day.

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“Vanessa has made such a huge difference to my life, I have a great laugh with her and enjoy sharing things. I think life can go too fast sometimes, so I think it is important that we do stop and just take the time to have a phone call and a chat.

“I just feel like I know her, and she knows me. I think I have a lot of stories to share, and she does too. We learn a lot from each other.

“And if there is ever a longer gap between us talking, it just means that we have lots to talk about when we talk to each other next time. I love telling her all my stories and things I have done in my life.

“I think anyone who is feeling lonely should consider using the service because it just means that you have someone to talk to, and you get to know the person really well. I know Vanessa really well now and she is a big part of my life. It feels like I have known her for even longer than I have.”

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Age UK’s coordinator of the telephone befriending service Charlotte Seaton said: “I think the beauty of the telephone befriending service is that you can use it from the comfort of your armchair. Particularly during winter when you have long and dark evenings it’s great.

“Just taking a bit of time to talk to somebody can make an enormous difference to someone’s life.

“I know that Vanessa really enjoys talking to David as well, it is very much a two-way thing. Something as simple as picking up the phone and speaking to someone can really make a huge difference to someone and make them feel less lonely and isolated.”

Age UK’s Steps to Active Rehabilitation Project (STAR):

Age UK’s STAR project aims to support and enable people aged 60 and over to regain confidence, retain independence and enjoy life following illness, injury or a hospital stay. To find out more about the project’s range of activities and services, go to: www.ageuk.org.uk/northyorkshire/our_services/steps-to-active-rehabilitation-star Do you know of a service which helps to ease loneliness and isolation in our district? I’d love to hear from you. Email: [email protected]