Posted on May 23, 2016
Visits to Centre 81 have signalled new hope for retired railwayman Alf Edwards.
The 84-year-old, who used to work in the busy signal box near Paddington station, was an active pensioner doing gardening, and helping neighbours until he suffered a stroke six years ago.
He lost the use of the right hand side of his body in a moment that “changed our lives completely” said wife Marjorie, 78, from Caister.
“At the beginning we found ourselves cut off at home. You cannot leave. And at first visitors dried up because they found themselves calling on someone who just sat there,” she added.
Since visiting Centre 81 a day a week for the past four years Alf has found new challenges and activities, including painting, cookery and gardening – and has made new friends.
“It has brought him out of himself, because, rather than relying on me to predict his needs, he has to ask for things and communicate choices – like when helping to make a pizza topping,” said Marjorie.
She uses her day off from caring to tackle household admin, but also to occasionally treat herself to lunch out.
“I used to see the Centre 81 buses but I did not know what they were. The Centre does a marvellous job here but could do with more space – so I am fully behind the appeal for the rebuild,” she added.