Yvonne is a stalwart volunteer for Lowestoft charity

AT the age of 82, many people are ready to put their feet up and take life easy.

Not Yvonne Eaton.

Every Tuesday she gladly gives up her time to help other older people in the Lowestoft area.

Offering a warm, friendly welcome and a sympathetic ear, Yvonne volunteers by working on the Age UK Suffolk helpdesk in Station Square. But from next month she hopes to be based at the charity's new help centre in London Road North – thanks to the backing of generous Journal readers.

As previously reported in The Journal, Age UK Suffolk has launched a �40,000 appeal to fit out the new centre, which will provide advice and information, one-to-one support, befriending and home visiting services.

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The appeal has now passed the half-way mark, topping �20,000.

To encourage more people to support the appeal, Yvonne, from Pakefield, spoke to The Journal this week about the important role the charity played in helping older people in Waveney.

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Yvonne, who became a volunteer after her husband Bill died in 2007, said: 'I really enjoy helping older people as I fully understand what it is like to lose a husband who did so many things for me and find yourself alone and not always able to cope. I meet people who are often feeling sad and lonely and by the end of their visit I have helped them and made them feel a lot happier. Often they have left the centre laughing and smiling.

'My job is very satisfying and fills a gap in my life.'

Looking forward to the new centre, Yvonne added: 'I am so pleased we will be moving to new premises in the middle of the town. It's brilliant news as we'll be able to help many more older people with our services.

'I am pleased the appeal has raised just over �20,000 and hope very much that more people will make donations and that we raise the rest of the funds needed to pay for the centre.'

Maggie James, the charity's fund-raising and development officer, said: 'Yvonne is a wonderful lady and a fantastic volunteer. We really appreciate her help and we are always looking for more volunteers to help with our services.'

Age UK Suffolk launched its appeal in May and has received the support of Waveney MP Peter Aldous and the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Andrew Norman-Butler. Its new centre will be based at a former shop at 112, London Road North.

Last year, Age UK Suffolk dealt with 1,073 telephone inquiries and 844 visits in Lowestoft and the surrounding area. Its benefit advice service received 534 referrals and secured nearly �1m of benefits for older people in Waveney.

?To make a donation to the appeal, send a cheque made payable to 'Age UK Suffolk' to: Maggie James, Age UK Suffolk, 14 Hillview Business Park, Old Ipswich Road, Claydon, Ipswich IP6 0AJ. Cheques or donations can also be left at the charity's helpdesk in Station Square, Lowestoft (which is signed as Age Concern Suffolk), or at The Journal offices in London Road North in an envelope marked 'Lowestoft Help Centre for Older People'.

?To find out about volunteering with the charity, call its volunteer office on 01473 298684 or email volunteer@ageuksuffolk.org

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