Martyn is a member of Rochdale Circle. He sent us this because he wanted others to understand the sort of problems older people in his position face, and how he’s helped himself and others lead a better life.
I am a retired local newspaper editor, and as such had quite a hectic social life, with many friends, prior to retiring.
I retired early at the age of 58, and over the following years lost touch with many of my work colleagues and acquaintances.
I have been widowed twice, my first wife dying suddenly on our 25th wedding anniversary, aged 46, and many years later my second wife, again very suddenly on our 1st wedding anniversary.
This affected me badly. I later moved away from Rochdale to live with Julia, a lady-friend in Saddleworth.
Not meeting other people, life was like Two Boxes – one full of life’s’ love with my family; the other full of loneliness.
We both became keen ramblers, going on holidays with the Rambling Club.
Then in 2000 I had a double heart attack when in Morecambe with my friend, Julia.
They revived me twice and I had a stent fitted, but still having one artery that was not brilliant.
I smoked all my life, but not had a cigarette since.
After a while I continued rambling with Julia but I was beginning to get a little breathless.
Julia and I went our own ways four years ago for family reasons.
I had my annual health check three years ago at Edenfield Road Surgery, and a blood test showed I had a very high PSA Count from my prostate.
A few days later it was still rising. The end result was Prostate Cancer was detected and I had 19 doses of radiotherapy at The Christie Clinic, followed by 2 years hormone implants.
I was also diagnosed with COPD, after having numerous bronchial problems.
I am still on the implants and have a nebulizer plus walking aids, a stick, 3-wheel trolley and wheelchair.
My community matron referred me to the Hospice last year because, although I have a VERY close family I was not meeting anyone, or socialising outside my family.
I started to get depressed and had some trouble using stairs, so moved out of my home to live with my daughter and her family.
The weekly day visit to the Hospice started snapping me out of the worst of the depression as I was picked up by a volunteer driver and returned home the same day. This was vital as I panic if left on my own.
The staff at the Hospice were brilliant, and I left really at ease and loved meeting the other patients.
But after 12 weeks my Hospice visits came to an end.
I had a lovely life at home with my daughter who became my Carer, her hubby and my three grandchildren.
BUT I still felt lonely – not meeting other people, and life was like Two Boxes –
One full of life’s’ love with my family;
The other full of loneliness.
I was still wary of being out on my own.
My COPD gets slightly worse each year, and I won’t know for six months if the cancer implants have worked.
My community matron referred me back to the Hospice and the staff told me about CIRCLE.
I eventually rang them and Pat McDonald (on the left in the photo above) from Circle came to see me at my home and spent about two hours telling me all about Circle.
She actually encouraged me to join and after hearing that a Circle staff member would be at every event they held I joined.
My first trip was with 50 other members, to Oswaldtwistle Mills and Pat introduced me to everyone on the coach!
I was VERY dubious, but was soon chatting to a few people, and I absolutely loved it.
I felt so safe because a staff member of Circle (Pat) was with me.
We went on a Barge Trip up the Canal and I walked the length of the Barge saying hello to everyone.
I loved it. THIS WAS LIVING AGAIN!
The next event I went on was lunch at the Wine Press at Hollingworth Lake.
I went by Taxi, on my OWN, and some of the 40 plus people at the lunch knew me and greeted me, and Leanne, a Member of Circle staff kept an eye on me. IT WAS BRILLIANT.
I shared my taxi with another Circle member on the way home.
I was no longer lonely. I was making friends and socialising, but I couldn’t do it without a member of Circle staff being present.
My life has changed. You wouldn’t believe what difference this has made to my life. I am always happy go lucky now!
Why don’t thousands of people like me join!
We’re so pleased that Martyn is feeling happier now, and is one of hundreds of people over 50 making Rochdale a friendlier place. If you’d like to know more about the Circle Movement, you can check out www.circlecentral.com or read more posts about Circle.