Volunteer and Rhayader's Citizen of the Year tells us about her delightful connection with local care home resident, Clem.
"I met Clem through a shared love of walking. Clem loves walking, so when he moved into Bryngwy, his daughter enquired at Rhayader & District Community Support (The Arches) to find out if there was anyone available to take her father out for a walk, a couple of times a week. As I was already volunteering at Bryngwy, I was asked if I would like to take Clem out and I was more than happy to do so!
The day I introduced myself to Clem and explained to him that I would be taking him walking once or twice a week, he was just so happy. The first day we went out, we went for a short walk around the grounds of the home, so I could assess his mobility. He hadn't been for a walk for some time so his legs were a bit shaky, which meant his walking wasn't brilliant. That didn't bother me too much, I knew in time as he did more walking, his legs would get stronger.
Clem would remember which day of the week I was coming to take him out, he was always ready with his hat and coat, sitting in his favourite armchair. Our walks would usually take place in the morning so that he could rest after lunch.
On the days when Clem's legs were good, we would go as far as the town (Rhayader) and pop to the café for a cuppa or sit outside and have an ice cream if the weather was good. When his legs weren't so good, we would walk half way and sit on the bench for a while. He loved waving to the lorry drivers as they went past, shouting a greeting in Welsh. He would also read what was written on the side of the lorries and count how many wheels there were. He was so happy being out and about. When he came across any Welsh words, he would tell me how to pronounce them, we had fun doing that, but I just couldn't grasp the language very well. I was okay with some of the words but useless with others. We used to enjoy our days out very much, there was lots of laughter!
The locals got to know us going out and about together. If I was seen without Clem, I would be asked "where's your boyfriend today?"!
When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020, I stopped going to the residential home. Clem then unfortunately became ill, which meant he had to go into hospital for a short time. He is now out of hospital and residing in a different care home, Crosfield House, because he now needs nursing care. When visitors are allowed, I am hoping to go and see him. I do miss him dearly, after all I have spent a lot of time with him over the last 3 years.
In the meantime, I keep in touch with his daughter and family to find out how he is getting on. I was told he has settled into the new home quite well."