Arthur is a Reading Friends participant with Age UK Horsham District. After working as an electrical fitter making medical x-rays in Croydon’s Progress Way, he settled down in Horsham where he now lives with his wife. At 87, he has an insatiable appetite for reading, which he’s able to share with his Reading Friends group.

How did you find out about Reading Friends? 

My wife told me about the programme, and said that I should join. She thought that I would like Reading Friends, and she was right! It’s nice as the people who run the programme are nice. My wife gets to spend some time with her friends when I’m here, so it’s good for us both.

‘Before joining, I didn’t want to leave the house’

When we’re at Reading Friends, we read. The programme was able to get me out of myself. Before joining, I didn’t want to leave the house, and now I come here and meet a lot of other people my age. I find that age takes the sharp corners and edges off of people, and people just want to have a chat. 

The reading aspect is also something that I enjoy and find valuable. In life, I have found that when I feel depressed, I sink into reading books and it (my low mood) slowly starts to disappear. Work also helped lift my mood when I was younger, but now I’m retired, I find that it’s books. 

‘I would have started coming years earlier if it was happening’

Don’t be ashamed of buying books that you think ‘seem easy to read’, even if they’re for young adults. I’ve brought young adult fiction by accident and enjoyed it. The books gave me something new to think about, and some were so good that I didn’t realise they weren’t for ‘me’ until I had started reading them. They made me feel better, and you should always read what you enjoy, the books should be a treat.

For me, films, books, and work were all ways that could make me feel better when I was feeling depressed. Now I like lots of books, and books for all ages. Being able to read and chat about anything is why I think Reading Friends is such a great scheme.  I would have started coming year’s earlier if it was happening. 

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Find out more about Arthur’s Reading Friends group in Horsham, and read a poem written by them.

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