Tower Hamlets

A friendship that crosses generations

BBC News spoke to Vivian and Denis about their weekly visits

April 24, 2018


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Every week GoodGym members across the UK run to visit isolated older people or neighbours. Some runners visit an older person regularly for a social visit, or to help with one-off tasks around the house or garden that an older person might not be able to do themselves.

BBC News got in touch beacuse they wanted to film a piece about the importance of contact between generations. So they met Vivian, a runner, and her 'coach' Denis, to find out what their GoodGym visits mean to them.

For the last year Vivian has run to visit Denis, 78, at his home. He used to get out and about quite a lot until he suffered a stroke which affected his mobility, so now visits from Vivian provide some important company.

Old age crept up on me quite quickly. So I just sort of gave up. This is what people do really, the older people.

Visiting Denis has made a big difference to Vivian's life too. She calls him her running 'coach' because visiting him each week provides her with the motivation she needs to run regularly. They've built up a great friendship. Denis always has lots of stories to share about living in London years ago and working as a Police Officer at Spitalfields Market which they both enjoy chatting about.

I push myself to do it because I know that Denis does look forward to it.

For Denis, having a chat with someone younger means a lot. "To have the younger people asking you the questions, about what it was like years ago, I feel proud to tell them, I'm somebody again."

You can watch Vivian & Denis's story on BBC News tonight at 6pm. They also filmed a few of our runners who ran to help Terry with some gardening that he couldn't manage himself.

Start running to visit an older person

Have your own GoodGym story to share with the community? Email and we'll be in touch.
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