Fighting loneliness in the elderly

590. Bob Lowe

A Hampshire volunteer has inspired a lifeline phone service for the elderly.

Bob Lowe inspired Esther Rantzen to set up The Silver Line, a phone line for isolated older people. Now 94, Bob first experienced loneliness when his wife passed away. A poem he wrote about his loss reached Esther who became determined to work with Bob to create more support for people like him. Bob still works closely with The Silver Line, promoting the service to millions in person and through media appearances in the UK but also all over the world.

In a personal letter to Bob, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Your story is one that resonates with countless people and your brave decision to speak so openly about the loneliness you felt when becoming a widower inspired a service that has helped over a million people experiencing that same sense of isolation. Your dedication to supporting and promoting the work of The Silver Line is admirable. I congratulate you on being named the 590th UK Point of Light.”

Bob said:

“When my wife died from Alzheimer’s disease I wrote a poem about loneliness and as a result was invited to join the Silver Line to give talks about their work. I have found that volunteering helps keep me active, combat loneliness and at the same time I get a deep sense of satisfaction and enjoyment by helping others, but it also made me feel very humble.”

Bob’s local MP, Sir Desmond Swayne, said:

“By courageously sharing his own experiences, Bob highlighted the need to support older people affected by loneliness living in our communities. Thanks to him, millions of people feel less alone across the UK. He thoroughly deserves this recognition from the Prime Minister as a point of light.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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