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I have never before felt so comfortable in pink.

My first day as a pensioner was in November of last year and a charity I was already linked to as a user sent me a letter explaining that the Treasurer was resigning due to increased pressure on his full-time NHS employment and they thought this role would be right up my street. The official letter arrived on the same day that I had decided I needed to get out a bit more and had already contacted the Buddies. In a very short time, I had two very different things to entertain me and I have been reasonably busy ever since. I had planned to reinvent myself in retirement and I had already done that.

It isn’t really like work but also isn’t entirely unlike work. I am probably doing more Zoom calls than before, the Treasurer role has rekindled my previous engagement with Microsoft Excel, I swapped a five hour round trip to the office for ad-hoc client trips from their homes to Nantwich or Leighton Hospital. Reaseheath Covid Testing fortnight was so much fun I didn’t want to go home, much like my London and Sheffield training and recruitment events when I was working.

It is really strange to be enjoying myself throughout possibly the most protracted and devastating event of my lifetime but this group is so well organised and so well stocked with positive people that it is easy to fit right in and get on with it. It already feels like I have been doing this for ages yet I am a relative latecomer to the Buddies.

The clients I have met are all brilliant in their own way, from shy and apologetic to unashamedly brash and feisty, all of them so uplifting that if this WAS work, I would pay to stay in the job. The Reaseheath experience was a definite eye-opener. What great work that college does and what a massive range of courses they offer. It was a great experience to help the staff and students back to class after such a disruption to their year.

There is lots more to come. This group will remain a strong influence on Nantwich and nearby rural communities for a long time after Covid recedes enough for us to realise a new normal. We all have come to realise that our volunteer services were needed before this crisis and will be needed long after it.

I have never before felt so comfortable in pink.

Geoff sporting his pink Nantwich Buddies vest

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