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Former daily journalist issues plea to help lonely OAPs make new friends

David WoodsA former regional daily journalist has urged others to join a scheme that helps lonely elderly people to make new friends.

David Woods, who used to be chief reporter and deputy news editor at the Colchester Daily Gazette, has hailed the benefits a project run by charity Age Well East for which he has volunteered.

David, pictured, was put in touch with elderly couple Ron and Margaret Hall during the pandemic, initially speaking to them over the telephone and later meeting them face-to-face as restrictions eased.

He has now written a first-person piece for the Gazette about his experience to mark National Befriending Week and has urged others to join similar projects.

Mr and Mrs Hall died in April and June this year respectively, with David continuing to visit them until the end of their lives.

In the piece, he wrote: “It was an absolute honour, privilege and delight to get to know a couple for whom love was – and will be – eternal. Ron and Margaret live on in my memory as an inspiration.

“Visiting them was never a chore and every single time I drive along Mill Road and pass the turning to their former home, they race back into my thoughts.

“Ron was Margaret and Margaret was Ron. I said at the start of this article that I volunteered to befriend because I wanted to ‘put something back’. Ron and Margaret gave me plenty in return and for that I will always be grateful.”