You’ve Got a Friend in Me

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By Ellie Dawson

At Cross Gates & District Good Neighbours’ Scheme CIO, the befriending service provides company. Whether it’s just a phone call, going for a walk, or a coffee, this service often blossoms into friendships.

David Smith, now a trustee at Cross Gates & District Good Neighbours’ Scheme CIO, was asked to be Paul Chodha’s befriender back in September 2017.

This was set to be a 12-week timeframe, but it quickly became less of a role and just a true friendship.

Paul, 70, says when he first met David, he didn’t say much: “I thought, he’s a bit quiet.

Laughing, he says: “When I talk about him now, I say, ‘Oh, he’s alright’.

“But he’s amazing really, he’s very patient with me, he never gets annoyed.”

David and Paul like to go out together – to the coast, for something to eat, and sometimes for a game of dominoes: “It’s a good laugh, and apparently I’m quite good.” Paul chuckles.

“You don’t realise what a difference even a couple of hours makes to your day.

“It’s nice to have him as a friend, I know I can just give him a ring.”

David says it’s not just Paul who benefits from their time spent together: “I enjoy it just as much as he does.”

“It’s very satisfying to help people, to know that when you’ve been through your working life and retired, there’s something you can give back.”

Click the link below to hear David speak more about their friendship: