Christine Kearsley

Happy ending with befriending

Christine is a volunteer befriender to BEA member Jim (aged 97) whom she calls ‘a proper gent’.

“I feel privileged to have made
such a difference to his life.”

Last year they were looking through some of his photos and came across one of a familyChristine Kearsley he stayed with in Italy during the war. Jim told Christine that he had been back to Cervinara to visit but unfortunately they had moved on. A lady in the village had given Jim some forwarding addresses which he had kept.

Christine offered to try to make contact, which Jim readily agreed to. She took names and addresses home with her and put a short story on a social network hoping that it would mean something to somebody out there who would remember Jim. Four months later someone who said she was the daughter of one Jim at a dinner with the visitorsof the named children got in touch, and a few days later sent an email, containing the same photo that Jim has shown Christine! Her heart was in her mouth and she couldn’t wait to tell Jim.

He was very emotional, and from then on many photos and emails were exchanged with the family, who had also been looking for Jim, and now wanted to come to England to meet him. Their visit finally happened in October. Despite it being over 70 years ago they all remembered each other and very clearly. It was a very special and emotional time for Jim. Christine is very proud of having helped to make this happen.

Volunteer befrienders can make a real difference to people’s lives. Phone 0113 236 1644 if you are interested in being a volunteer befriender.