Friday, June 5, 2020

#NationalVolunteersWeek - Bernard's Story

This #NationalVolunteersWeek, West Lancashire Partnership has been chatting with Bernard about his work as a volunteer during the Coronavirus outbreak.

“It keeps me out of mischief”, says West Lancs volunteer

Bernard, an 82 year old resident from Upholland, is a testament to the kindness this pandemic has brought about and is the true spirit of a volunteer.

Having joined West Lancs Volunteer Service in July 2019, Bernard now acts as a telephone friend for those in need of companionship.

Since the pandemic, at the strike of 8pm every evening Bernard dials a local lady who has health conditions and is shielding alone at her flat in nearby Skelmersdale.

“We put the world to rights. I’ve lived here for 70 years and she’s lived here for 35 years, so we know the area well and even some of the same people. We chat about what has been on the tele, our lives, what’s on the news, we share our stories and every night it’s something different. Some days, I am the only person she will have spoken to all day. At first it felt formal as we got to know each other but now it’s ‘hello’ and away we go!”.

Bernard described how the lady he supports felt like the walls were coming in on her when the pandemic first struck. He says:

“For many older people, and now the shielded, it can feel out of sight out of mind, but that must not be the case. There are many people that care. If we can just bring a bit of sunshine into their worlds, it’s a nice feeling. I hope I can give someone a chance at life and to stop any feelings they may have that life is not worth living. And above all else, it keeps me out of mischief!”

When asked about the power of volunteering, Bernard says:

“The more you put into life, the more you get out of it! Charity is not about raising money, It is about bringing hope from despair, it’s bringing joy when there is sadness and bringing someone a new tomorrow. And raising funds is a means to that end”.

Bernard’s closing remarks are: “For thou too wert born not when thou chosest, but when the World had need of”.

Bernard lives with his wife in Upholland. He has volunteered for 24 years and before that he had a long successful career in fundraising for NSPCC and Bolton Hospice.

Source: Content shared on behalf of West Lancashire Partnership