LAST week the SNJ and The Retreat pub hosted the first gathering of The Wednesday Club, a social group for retired people in the Stroud Valleys.

Several people turned up and talked about everything from good things to do in Stroud to the more sobering Paris attacks.

Each week The Wednesday Club will meet at The Retreat in Church Street, Stroud at 2pm.

The SNJ is also exploring the issue of isolation among older people.

This week we spoke to a 78-year-old woman from Cashes Green.

The woman, who lost her husband 13 years ago, began to suffer back problems towards the end of January this year.

Since then her health has started to deteriorate and she struggles with heart trouble so just walking into her garden is a challenge.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I think it’s a thing that can creep up on you.

“For me, like a lot of people, you can get through the day but it is in the evening that you miss people, perhaps having somebody in the house just to talk to.

“At the moment I’ve lost interest in knitting and I’ve lost interest in reading. I do do a lot of crosswords, I’m getting a bit fed up with the TV but you put it on for noise.

“Of course, I’m unfortunate because I don’t sleep very well. I got to bed about 11pm and I’m back in the sitting room again two hours later because I can’t sit up in bed and read.

“I come down here, have a cup of tea, have a cigarette, I put my feet up and have a damn good sleep.”

The lady is hugely grateful for her neighbours who help her with her shopping and take her to hospital appointments.

She said: “I was perfectly alright before my back started to get bad and now I can’t reach up into a cupboard and you get a bit cheesed off.

“I’ve been more or less housebound, although I’m probably luckier than some older people.

“I’ve got good neighbours in the cul-de-sac.”

She also attends a weekly Bible study group, which helps her in many ways.

“They have been brilliant, we’ve all got problems,” she said.

The woman also attends a monthly lunch at the Maypole Hall in Paganhill and goes to the Longfield hospice in Minchinhampton to attend gatherings for people with heart difficulties.

Depending on her health, she plans to spend Christmas at her daughter’s in Surrey.

  • The Wednesday Club aims to bring together older people who are looking to make new friends. Most people know a pensioner who lives alone and we are asking the public to spread the word so as many people as possible can benefit.