Arthur Kane has been a day services patient at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice for the past year but in recent months has been too unwell to make the Monday visits.
With COPD and emphysema, he is now housebound.
“I feel pretty rough, I get breathless and my mobility isn’t good,” he explains.
Thanks to the hospice’s Carers’ Choice service, a befriending programme that pairs up a volunteer with a patient to allow the carer time to go out, Arthur has made a new friend in John McGeary.
“John comes in on a Wednesday and cheers me up. I wasn’t aware John was coming and I was told I better behave myself and it’s gone from there,” laughs Arthur.
“We discuss everything, we’ve talked about everything from Hannibal to the Terracotta Warriors. That’s the thing about John, he’s knowledgeable and he can talk about anything. We have very similar interests.
“I really appreciate it because I don’t get out much. It’s good to have someone else to talk to and have different conversations.”
Arthur and John were matched up by the hospice for an eight-week period.
“We’re very compatible and got on immediately,” says John.
“We found out we had a lot in common, one thing being Millport. Arthur went down there a lot as a younger man in his water skiing days.
“Arthur doesn’t get out very much and over a period of time I’ve kept him up to date with what’s happening in the big city of Glasgow - and in Millport. It’s one thing to have a chat about it but I also took a couple of videos on my phone.
“When I heard Arthur had an interest in some events in Millport I took a video of the front where he probably skied up and down.”
A former volunteer with the Samaritans, he heard the hospice was looking for bereavement counsellors. Then they asked if he would also do befriending.
“It’s good to see someone like Arthur who is communicative, can have a good conversation and who has a very lively interest in everything that is happening.”
Arthur’s wife Aileen said she loved the idea of the Carers’ Choice service.
“Arthur’s mobility is very restricted and apart from family and the odd friend coming in now and again, he doesn’t see many people,” she says.
“With John coming along he has really enjoyed the conversation, they are very similar, and he has perked up. He looks forward to it and is better for it.”
She adds: “It’s that one time in the week when I definitely know I can go out. If John is here I can go out and get my shopping.
“We have a grannies’ lunch every couple of months and I can go out and enjoy it, I can go out for a couple of hours and I know that John is here with Arthur. From my point of view that’s really worthwhile. It gives me peace of mind, it’s really supportive and great company for Arthur.”