Skip to content
Learn more

Reading Friends

“Reading Friends is the highlight of my week”

Written by Cheshire East Libraries

Cheshire East Libraries have been delivering weekly Reading Friends telephone calls to local residents. They spoke with Gertrude, who has been taking part in Reading Friends since March.

Gertrude is 92, was born in Sandbach, and still lives in the town. She found out about Reading Friends from a leaflet her daughter was given at the library. She was interested in taking part as she is now nearly blind, so not able to see large print books. She used to go to a poetry group, but eyesight and hearing problems meant she found it difficult to fully participate.

A chance to reminisce

Gertrude has been taking part in Reading Friends since the middle of March. Initially, the sessions started with short stories and some poems until her Reading Befriender found out she likes Pam Ayres’ and Roger McGough’s writing so found some of their poems to read. At the start of each session, they have a catch up, and then continue reading extracts from Boy by Roald Dahl. They started with The Great Mouse Plot and Gertrude was so keen to find out what happened, her Reading Befriender continued to read a chapter or two each week. This has provoked some very interesting discussions about school, childhood, and the differences between our own experiences. They also talk about local matters, shops, working life, local history and families. Each session usually ends with a poem. On one memorable occasion, her Reading Befriender started reading Lake Isle of Innisfree and Gertrude joined in - she knew the poem by heart!

Power of storytelling

Gertrude loves everything about her weekly telephone call and wishes it was twice a week. She puts this down to an excellent reader with an expressive voice. When she was able to see to read, she enjoyed a wide variety of genres, including biographies, history and Greek mythology. As a child one of her favourite stories was Hereward the Wake and she used his example of ‘escaping the swampy Fens’ to get through the marshy ground at school.

No longer a bird in a cage

She describes her Reading Friends call as “the highlight of my week”. Prior to the calls she says she felt like a bird in a cage, but she now feels free. Listening to reading helps to take her mind off her various ailments and out of herself. She has always loved books and misses not being able to read herself. Gertrude would definitely recommend Reading Friends to a friend as she appreciates the benefits the initiative has given her.

Contact rowena.gomersall@cheshireeast.gov.uk to find out more about Reading Friends in Cheshire East.

Find out more!

Join our mailing list to find out more about Reading Friends.

View our other programmes

Close

Let's keep in touch

Be the first to hear all the new and exciting things about Reading Friends.

* indicates required

Sign up to our newsletters

Please select the ways you would like to hear from The Reading Agency.

You can unsubscribe or update your preferences from The Reading Agency at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Close

Register your interest

* indicates required

I’m interested in...