Befriender takes on ‘Ride the North’

Left to right: Mike Thornton, Laureen Canessa, Anthony Thornton
Left to right: Mike Thornton, Laureen Canessa, Anthony Thornton

Volunteer befriender Laureen Canessa, her husband Mike and son Antony got on their bikes to Ride the North last weekend.

Ride the North is a cycling challenge in the beautiful scenery of the Grampian Highlands in the North and North-East of Scotland.

Cycling from Inverness to Aberdeen over two days they have raised over £600 for a befriending service for older people.

Laureen became a volunteer befriender with Kincardine & Deeside Befriending two years ago. The first person she visited was John, 97 years old. He lost his wife some time ago and has limited mobility.

Laureen said: “Before I became a befriender I did not appreciate the difference one can make to an older person’s life by giving up a couple of hours a week.

‘‘Although I work as a teacher and lead a busy life I always make sure that I didn’t miss my weekly visits to John.

‘‘I loved spending time with him. John has led such an interesting and active live and we shared an interest in music and art. He says that he looked forward to the visits, that my companionship gave him a break from feeling lonely and it gave him a chance to get out of the house”

Funds raised will be donated to Kincardine & Deeside Befriending (registered Scottish charity no. SC032594) to improve the quality of life in older people by providing companionship. Visit or call 01569 765714.