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Saturday, 6 June 2020

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Memory boosting biography penned by Sheffield charity volunteer

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A kind-hearted volunteer who befriended a 95-year-old Sheffielder as part of a charity loneliness scheme has written a book about the man’s life to help boost his memory.

Tim Moran, aged 54, from Meersbrook penned the charming digest for nonagenarian Mike Skipp- a service user benefitting from Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care’s (SCCCC) Good Neighbour Scheme.

Tim hopes the book- which chart’s Mike’s life with a mixture of photographs, timelines and achievements – will help to trigger his memories and keep dementia at bay.

Tim said:

“I started volunteering for SCCCC last summer, following my mum’s death in 2017. I missed seeing her and keeping her spirits up and wanted to do the same for someone in Sheffield.

“Before lockdown, I visited Mike once a week. We talk about current affairs, sport- he was a keen rugby player and referee, and his family. He also likes to hear about my many and varied jobs and the silly things I do in my free time.

“I told Mike I’d completed a memory book for my mum, and when I showed it to Mike he thought it was marvellous. So I offered to do something similar for him.

“It took a few months – sorting through his many photo albums, letters, press cuttings, certificates, diaries and other documents. With help from his son, Howard, we spent a lot of time at his home piecing together the chronology of his life. I also spent some time researching his past schools, employers and places he had lived.

“The book takes in the whole of Mike’s life, from his parents, right through to his grandchildren and great-grandchild. It covers family, work, career, travel, interests and also includes some fun questions about his likes and dislikes.

“The book celebrates his life. He lost both his wife and daughter in the past two years and I wanted the book to remember and celebrate the larger family that, until quite recently, he had enjoyed.

“As well as information on Mike’s life I also compiled a summary of key events over the course of his life and dotted these throughout the book. I hoped that this would help trigger memories for him and immerse him in that particular time period.

“Thankfully, the ‘official’ handover ceremony took place about a week before the lockdown.

Memory Book

“Mike is over the moon with it, and said that the book will be something he gains great pleasure from looking at, which I was delighted to hear.”

Tim is one of 113 volunteers of SCCCC’s Good Neighbour Scheme, which aims to help the older members of the community by enhancing their quality of life. The service is provided free of charge with the basic aim of helping to combat loneliness for people over 65 living in Sheffield.

Due to the pandemic, the scheme is postponed for face-to-face visits, with older people still receiving support from volunteers through telephone calls and handwritten letters.

However, SCCCC is still extremely busy supporting older people on discharge from hospital, providing practical and emotional assistance at times of need and supporting the NHS where it can, safely.

For more information about SCCCC, or to donate, visit www.scccc.co.uk/donate

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