I’ve been coming to Grundy since April, just over six months, and it’s made all the difference to me. After my wife Florence died aged ninety-five, I got so low that I tried to kill myself four times. I’m not the best with my own company. When I was first told about the Grundy, I thought it sounded complicated and I’m not that confident driving any more, but they told me I could get a bus there and back, so I gave it a go.
Honestly the people here are so friendly, I really love it and the staff you’ve got here are fantastic. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, coming here, and I’m not just saying that! The only thing I have against it is Saturday and Sunday, it’s closed and there’s nothing to do.
From the first day I came, I was made to feel that I wasn’t an outsider. As soon as I arrived, Lorraine came over to say hello and I realised I knew her – I was her dad’s boss when we worked on the buses together, and I had loaned her my cream Morris Oxford for her wedding car, I did it all up with white ribbons – that’s me, if I can help, I will.
I was very poorly when I was young; I spent two years in hospital with TB meningitis and me mum and dad paid for me to have a brain operation privately. Out of six of us on the ward, I was the only one to leave with my sight. By the time I got to secondary school I was so far behind that I couldn’t even spell my own name. But I joined the St John’s Ambulance cadets when I was twelve and I went on to work on the buses in Bury. I worked my way up from conductor at nineteen, became a driver and eventually a senior inspector. I stayed with the St John’s Ambulance service for over thirty years too, I qualified as an instructor and examiner, and that’s how I met Florence.
Anyway, on that first day, I went into the lounge and it was full of fellers and I thought ‘ooergh’, you know, and yet by the time the day was out I was speaking to most of them, you know, as though you’d known them for a long time and I found out that we’re nearly all in the same boat, most of them are widowers.
There’s always something going on at Grundy and I have never felt that I’m an outsider coming in. The staff here are fantastic; any of them, if you want to ask them anything, if they can do it, they’ll do it and they’ll help you. It goes a hell of a long way with me, it really does. I’ve recently been on a trip to Rawtenstall on the steam train, and I’ve already paid up for the Christmas party because if it’s as good as the Hallowe’en party was, I’m not missing it!
I feel altogether different, coming here every day, I look forward to it. Like I said, there’s two days of the week I hate, Saturday and Sunday, but the rest of the week, oh! Of course you get up some mornings and I think I could do with turning over and going back to sleep, but on the other hand I think ‘well if you do that, what are you going to do all day?’ So that gives me effort to get ready and come. I’m not kidding you, I really, really enjoy it, I really do.
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