‘My wife and I moved into a bungalow down the road from here. After being told about Armley Helping Hands. We started coming to luncheon club every week and Memory Lane Group after Sybil got diagnosed with dementia and gradually got worse and worse. I looked after her for four years. She was in a wheelchair at the end. But we still kept coming here. It was important to us. We had never been to any groups like this before. When I first started coming here, there were a lot of members. But gradually there became less and less. I like to be independent; I don’t want to rely on other people. I’m 93 but I still drive. I had a cataract operation a few weeks back. I couldn’t go anywhere, I was house bound for three weeks. It was murder.
I was born in Leeds and lived here all my life. My father was a signalman. I remember our first house. A row of four terraced houses in front of the signal box. The trains used to stop and he’d go out and do his thing. I was about three years old I think. At fourteen I left school and went to work in manufacturing. The following year the war started. I remember being in the home guard; on night watch and being on the roof looking out for fires.
After the war my wife encouraged me to apply for a receptionist job at Chapel Allerton Hospital. There were two hundred people wanting the job and I got it; I was over the moon! I’ll never forget the year – 1982 because my son bought me a watch to celebrate. And that’s where I worked till I retired. The watch is still going, just like me.’
Armley Helping Hands is a local charity that supports older people by providing a variety of activities and services. Having received a Lunch Club Grants from the Foundation, they were able to provide a weekly meal and a rare chance for the area’s older residents to interact. By providing advice, support and healthy living activities within the Lunch Clubs, they help over 80 older residents to gain independence and actively participate in their communities.
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