A wonderful coincidence: Contact the Elderly were keen to have people ride the Ride London 100 mile route in late July to support the charity and I was happy to embark on this as part of my summer cycling. When I am not driving our older guests to tea on a Sunday I like to keep fit by riding out to the Surrey Hills from south-west London either in a group or on my own – the countryside is delightful and the roads out of London not too busy at the weekend.
I can’t think of a better charity to be involved with and for which to raise money and devote volunteering time – Contact the Elderly has a simple mission of providing a monthly tea party at someone’s home for individual groups of elderly people who are less mobile and more house-bound than most of us. A secondary objective is to ensure different generations interact. Our elderly guests are super company: charming, chatty and positive and the hosts who provide the teas are delightful as are their teas! I hope to raise over £1,000 which will increase the number of lonely people we can reach.
During over forty years of tea parties I have had many an excitement. Two in particular come to mind: getting stuck in a lift with an older guest whilst two others were waiting in a car below and rock and roll dancing with a guest to a jazz band on a smart Surrey lawn - the fire brigade rescued the day on the former occasion, I will not divulge how the latter ended...I will not be asking any of my Contact the Elderly friends to ride 100 miles with me although their sprightliness always amazes me!
Words by William Barney, Trustee and Volunteer for over 40 years