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Retired businessman hails ‘new lease of life’ from Dersingham gardening programme

A retired businessman is planning a special floral tribute to his late wife as part of the community gardening programme that he says has saved him from loneliness.

Robin Lake, from Dersingham, became isolated following the death of his wife, Dorothy Ann, in April last year.

But a chance meeting with the village’s librarian, Alison Thorne, led him to join its community gardening scheme.

And he is now planning to plant a rose bush in memory of Dorothy Ann, to whom he was married for 52 years, in the spring that will grow throughout the year.

Mr Lake, 75, who has lived in Dersingham for more than 25 years, said: “The library is a real community hub.

“Alison spoke to me about getting involved with maintaining the community garden, and one day I decided to get involved.

“I now go once a month. We do lots of work improving the garden. We’re currently adding a shingle path.

“Alison gets everything going in the community. She is brilliant and it’s thanks to her and this wonderful scheme run by the library that I have a new lease of life.”

Norfolk County Council chiefs say the work of libraries like Dersingham’s to provide a wide range of social activities for residents is critical to the success of their In Good Company campaign which aims to reduce loneliness across the county.

Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of the authority’s communities committee, which oversees the work of the county’s libraries, said: “This is a fantastic example of how libraries provide vital opportunities for social interaction to their community, and how our excellent community librarians can engage and inspire others to get involved in projects.”

Council deputy leader Alison Thomas added: “Loneliness and lack of social interaction can be as bad for someone’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, as well as being the cause of a number of other health issues.

“These community initiatives can make the world of difference to people just like Robin.”

Residents and businesses are also being encouraged to show their support for the campaign by using the NoLonelyDay hashtag on social media or via the In Good Company page of the county council’s website, www. norfolk.gov.uk.


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