"After his visits, our patient always had a smile on her face and felt uplifted, no matter how she had been feeling before he arrived."
What’s it like being a volunteer befriender? Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice volunteer befriender Stewart has brought companionship and social support to a 55-year-old lady living with multiple sclerosis.
During his visits, he identified they both shared an enjoyment of music.
"On my visits, we got talking and spoke about her interest in listening to music," he recalls. "She had been given an amplifier and speakers by a friend but had no music player to connect them to, so we turned this into a shared project."
Bringing music into her life
"Together, we researched and identified a well-priced CD player, went to the shops to buy it, and I helped bring it home and install it. She told me that her life had been transformed by being able to listen to good-quality music at home. It has made a huge improvement to her enjoyment of life.
"Having got the music bug, she asked me to help her look for a good-value digital radio, so we did more research then went on a shopping trip so she could buy one. Once home, I helped tune it in and set the channels up," Stewart says.
Stewart is "an absolute tonic"
Felicity Hearn is Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice’s Befriending Volunteer Coordinator.
"Our patient not only appreciated her befriender’s fantastic practical know-how and assistance, but also his sense of humour and cheerful banter, which helped lift her mood," she says. "She told me that after his visits, she always had a smile on her face and felt uplifted, no matter how she had been feeling before he arrived."
In her words, the befriendee said: "Stewart really was an absolute tonic. I can honestly say I would recommend anyone to have a befriender to help. I feel so lucky to have met someone with such a fabulous sense of humour as well as being so helpful – he's absolutely wonderful."
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