Pensioner, 82, helped with lockdown loneliness after local cafe gives him a job

A lonely pensioner has been given an hour-a-day job at a local cafe to help him keep going through the third lockdown.

Raymond Nicholls, 82, moved to Fife from Stockport after his wife died in 2002, and now lives alone with no family nearby. He had been going to the Cupcake Coffee Box, on Kirkcaldy High Street, every day to lift his spirits up.

During one trip, he told owner Mike Lowe how he had been struggling with loneliness, and he was immediately offered a small job within the cafe.

He now works an hour-a-day at the site, cleaning tables and serving takeaway coffees and snacks to customers. He credits the friendships he has gained from the role with vastly improving his mental health.

Raymond said: ‘I’ve been visiting the café virtually every day since last year. Without the café to come to each day I’d have practically no other interaction with anyone.

‘When Mike heard this he instantly offered to take me on for an hour or so a day, and I can’t thank him enough.’

He went on: ‘I can vouch for the times when you feel very alone and vulnerable. I’m lucky, despite my age I’m in good health and stay active by going out and for walks every day but the pandemic has hit elderly people very hard.

‘Only last week a fellow pensioner said to me that he felt those who had passed away were effectively better off than those still living in total isolation and facing lockdown.

‘That’s a terrible situation to be faced with and I’m so glad I now have a reason to come out every day and interact.’

Raymond is now urging others to do more and consider helping lonely pensioners during the pandemic.

He said: ‘Looking out for an elderly neighbour or just chatting once in a while can make the world of difference to someone who otherwise wouldn’t have any means of human interaction. We can all help each other.’

Mike said Raymond was not the first pensioner he had met who had been struggling this year. He continued: ‘I’ve spoken to many elderly people really struggling to get through this lockdown.

‘Many come out just for 20 minutes or so to break the monotony by sitting outside and having a chat.

‘That’s why I’ve offered to deliver a coffee or a cake to anyone suffering right now just so they can have a chat and at least ease that difficulty of isolation.’

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