The Express & Star is highlighting some of the good work going on in the Dudley, Stourbridge and Halesowen areas. Jane Beese talks to a volunteer helping to provide friendship and support for thousands of elderly people
May 3, 2003, 15:43:00
Fifteen years ago Ron Dalton pledged his support to a charity for the elderly in Stourbridge to take his mind off his own troubles.
Mr Dalton, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, went along to a meeting at Stourbridge Age Concern and ended up volunteering for a position on the committee.
Today he is chairman of the group which provides invaluable advice, lunches, social activities and friendship for thousands of pensioners in and around Stourbridge.
More than 3,000 people a year benefit from its day care provisions and over 25,000 elderly folk use the drop-in facilities. It was when Mr Dalton, aged 67, from Worcester, decided to take a holiday because of his complaint that he first came across Age Concern.
The charity, founded in 1974, was recommended to him for its holiday club and several vacations later he began to make friends at the Age Concern bases, the Elton Centre off the ring road and Mary Stevens day care centre, off Hagley Road.
One day, having had to retire from his job as a director of a factory because of his illness, Mr Dalton went to an Age Concern meeting.
He had refused to go into a wheelchair and decided to keep himself active, spurred on by his wife Val.
Before long he was on the charity's committee, then took on the role of vice-chairman and eventually became chairman eight years ago.
In that time Mr Dalton, Mrs Dalton, also a volunteer who runs a fundraising group at the centre, and the rest of the team of 14 staff and more than 40 helpers have made a real difference to the lives of pensioners.
Just last year the charity obtained an extra £62,000 in benefits for pensioners, money the elderly did not realise they could claim until Stourbridge Age Concern and Voluntary Service Group stepped in.
"I am very, very lucky as I have a good team with me," said Mr Dalton, who has had MS for 30 years.
"I enjoy every minute here and wouldn't do it if I didn't. Getting involved
with other people who have problems helps me forget my own illness. Val
drives me to and from Worcester to the centre around four times a week
and I am really proud of what we have achieved in Stourbridge. I have got
a good driving force behind me in Val and it is wonderful to be able to
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