Long-standing volunteer and supporter of Staywell, Michael Pearson (94) has this week been honoured with a Mayor's Community Award.

Receiving the award from Kingston Mayor,  Thay Thayalan, Michael glowed with pride.

Anne Bren, Deputy CEO of Staywell, said:

'Michael is a great volunteer, extremely dedicated to his role and genuinely deserves this recognition.'

Since 2015, Michael has been a volunteer befriender for Staywell's 'In Touch' scheme. As we grow older, there may be many factors which limit our social contact with others, whether through reduced mobility, health issues or bereavement. In Touch is a volunteer-powered telephone befriending service, which aims to address a basic need to communicate and be listened to, in order to maintain our psychological wellbeing and reduce loneliness.

Through regular phone calls, Michael has built up an excellent rapport with the people he befriends, and his meaningful conversations with them reflect this. He’s a good listener, who doesn’t rush. He’ll pick up on the person’s mood and report back any concerns about their wellbeing to the Staywell staff team to follow up on, which can prevent situations escalating.

Reciprocity

Michael exemplifies the concept of reciprocity in volunteering. He used to attend the old Age Concern Kingston Bardwell House day centre and in 2005 he became the Bradbury Active Age Centre's first member - something he’s very proud of. As a recipient of Staywell’s services, Michael has always been keen to give something back, through volunteering in a variety of ways. He’s continued to do this, always with great humour and graciousness, even when he has had difficulties of his own.

Michael first tried volunteering back in 2006 when he took part in Staywell's award-winning intergenerational work. It was, therefore, touching to see him together with the youngest volunteer to receive an award, five-year old Dhillon Manku.

 

Michael Pearson is an excellent ambassador for Staywell and the voluntary sector, promoting us at every opportunity, and inspiring us all to aspire to an active older age.

Michael always arrives for his volunteering 'shift', looking very dapper, with a smile on his face and a happy greeting for everyone. A determined and independent user of the Freedom pass, Michael told Staywell's Information Officer, Fiona Marschall, who supports the In Touch volunteers, that he prefers the walk back to the bus-stop, as being downhill, it’s easier!