For many it is a very tough time. For charities it is also a very scary time, for some their income has dried up. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing stories that will warm your heart, make you smile and maybe have you reaching for the tissues.
Today, Ros Rendle shares a beautiful story about how, The Evergreen Trust promotes healthy ageing and how, from the Trust, Ros and her husband met, Sid, now 95, a WW2 hero.
When my husband and I returned to the UK from living in France, we were looking for friendship and activities. The Evergreen Care Trust https://www.evergreencare.org.uk/ based in Stamford Lincolnshire provided both. It’s a small charity but offers so much in the way of friendship and care to those who are elderly and more particularly - lonely. The Charity aims to promote healthy ageing and attitudes towards older people, seeking relevant ways to honour old age. Little things like hand massage and manicure for both men and ladies is often the only contact someone might have. All their volunteers are trained and have the relevant awareness and safety checks. Also offered is chaplaincy, advocacy, a ‘clean team’ and a befriending service. We joined the latter.
We were introduced to Sid, who is now 95 and lives on his own since his wife died several years ago. He has become significantly less mobile but has led an active life and has a great sense of positivity, humour and many stories to tell. The agreement with the charity is that we visit for an hour each week, but it has become more than that since Sid has become a good friend. Now, its two full mornings each week and sometimes we fetch him for Sunday lunch or to watch a film on TV and have a drink and snacks.
During WW2, Sid told fibs about his age so that he could join up early and he ended up on motor gun and torpedo boats patrolling continental coastal waters, frequently also participating in raids ashore since this was pre SAS days. He told me tales of landing on the Dutch coast to drop off agents and how he would create a diversion with guns and grenades while the agents slipped away. I was able to use this in my book Flowers of Resistance, soon to be re-released by Sapere Books. Of course, the dedication in the front of the book is, ‘To Sid and all heroes who don’t believe they are’.
Recently my husband wrote to the relevant government department about Sid’s D-Day exploits. Sid had never seen the point of his medals but when my husband pointed out that his grandson, who lives in New Zealand, would like them eventually, he changed his mind. This young man thinks much of his grandad and they talk regularly on Skype. The upshot, after lots of checks and verifications because Sid’s age is different to that on his service papers, he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French President Macron. We organised for this and his other medals to be mounted correctly and he wore them with pride on Remembrance Sunday. The resulting article in the local paper is pinned on his kitchen wall.
The Evergreen Care Trust is run without much in the way of grant funding because if they used this method and it was subsequently withdrawn, they would be in deep trouble, so they rely on donations and fund-raising events. All times are difficult for such charities but at the moment, critically so. Volunteers in each sector work hard to ensure the good service is maintained and the aim of the charity to ensure that old age is honoured carries on. Our small part with Sid is not hard work.
Ros Rendle was a head teacher previously but is now an award-winning author of contemporary and early 20th century fiction. She has seven novels either published or about to be. She became an Amazon best-seller.
Inspiration comes from ten years living in France as well as a myriad of ideas from time spent with family and friends.
What with writing, and between dog walking and dancing, though not always at the same time, her hours are filled.
You can find out more about The Evergreen Care Trust by visiting them on their web site https://www.evergreencare.org.uk/
If you would like to share your story and the charity you support, please contact me.
In the meantime, please come back for more inspiring stories.
I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.