I befriend Jane, seeing her at the weekend, and have a natter for probably about an hour, sometimes a little longer. 

I got involved because I felt it was important to give back, and I’d actually been a little ill myself, so I thought, when I get better, I’ve got to do something for someone else.  Fundamentally it’s nice to help someone, and it’s also quite good fun. 

Jane has travelled a lot, she was an air hostess, so she lived in Dubai, Australia and Pakistan. You can forget that people have been young and done all these things, so it was actually quite interesting that she's very liberal and open-minded, where you might imagine someone in their 80’s might be a bit more conservative.

My mum and dad passed away some time ago and I miss having a conversation with someone of that generation, someone with that different viewpoint.  I have three kids and I think it would be nice for them to also meet Jane in the future.

If someone was thinking about befriending then I’d say to them that it’s a really good thing to do, work in the community, helping someone, seeing them blossom.

It’s a net positive for everyone, though you might want to ask Jane if she agrees! It almost feels like you’re a little more complete having done it.  What’s more, I found it interesting how much impact an hour has.  You don’t need a lot of time to have a positive effect on someone’s emotional wellbeing.  That was something that surprised me.