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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Volunteers. Our Friendly Visitor.

Arthur is to get a community visitor, a volunteer who will come and visit him for one hour a week, as part of the social inclusion program of the local council. The volunteer will be able to talk with Arthur. I am hoping that while the volunteer is here I can record some of Arthur's memories, such as his childhood in Brightlingsea, UK.  I tried it before with a video-camera but, although usually able to talk the hind leg off of a donkey, he was not very forth-coming. Maybe Arthur had stage fright.

Arthur had a lot of contact with the care-workers that came around, before he went into hospital this time. I quite looked forward to seeing them, too. One I got on with really well. After the hospital stay and the dust-up with his provider over decreased hours of services, we have a new agency and different workers. There are different ones every day and they are here for only 30 minutes a day. We hardly even know there names. When the care-workers provide your most social contact, you know you are getting isolated. "When the only friends you have are the ones paid to be your friends", was how some-one in the disability sector once described their life.

The friendly visitors scheme will help Arthur a bit, but I wonder about all the people he knew, all his friends from helping out at the local soccer club. I remember them saying thank you for all the hard work and how his offers of help were never tuned down, and their words of 'If ever you need anything, you only have to ask.'

I have left messages there and sent them details of Arthur's condition but I have had few return calls. Maybe there are all new people now who do not know him, and the people who did know him have just got on with their lives. Arthur loved that club.  He would be always out doing things especially looking after the players, as he was the Team Manager for 30 years. The Team Manager was the coach's assistant, the co-ordinator of everything to do with the team, their kit, keeping training and match-day records and organising the dressing rooms. In the 40-plus years as a member of the club and over 25 years as the team manager, Arthur knew everyone who played for the club in that time, along with many others in the SA soccer world, including coaches, committee people, volunteers and referees.

It has been said by many that Arthur was about the best volunteer that club ever had, along with another person about the same age who also did much work and important jobs about the club. I was very pleased when this other man had something in the club named after him. He did a lot of work for them. Both he and Arthur were made life members, but Arthur didn't get anything named after him. This, and the lack of any inquiries about Arthur,  has left me with a few hurt feelings on his behalf.   I once used to think that a lot of people would come to Arthur's funeral, but now I do not think so. I think he has been forgotten. But maybe it is just me being sad again.

I think I need a reason to smile

It is fitting though, that Arthur, who volunteered to do so much in his time has  younger volunteers to now help make his life a little happier.

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