Meet the volunteer: Andrew Wells

Dec 20, 2022

Would you have thought that In Great Company has up-and-coming actors in its midst? Andrew Wells has been a volunteer with us for many years, and he is now adding movie star to his resume, having played in ‘Elvis’ and ‘Ticket to Paradise’ recently. Learn more about him!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Before I moved back to the Gold Coast, I was based in Sydney in the printing industry. Then mum’s health deteriorated rather rapidly so I came home to take care of her. I was deeply affected when I lost my mother and then sadly my sister
passed away shortly after that. Now I care for my father.  

Earlier on I decided to get a certification in Aged Care, but it broke my heart taking care of ageing people, watching their mental and physical health decline. This led me to look for opportunities where I could still support seniors in the
community but in a different way, and I found In Great Company.  

When I came back to the Gold Coast, I also got into acting. I wanted to keep active, and one day I saw an ad with an acting agency. I signed up and was immediately sent out to a job as an extra, which I loved. Then the recent Elvis movie starring
Tom Hanks came up. I was supposed to be an extra but was unexpectedly bumped up to main cast playing Lamar Fike, who was a part of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia when he rose to stardom. Meeting Tom Hanks was a surreal experience, he is very
down to earth. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid for it, I would have done it for nothing. I also recently played an extra in the movie ‘Ticket to Paradise’ with George Clooney and Julia Roberts.  

Who do you visit and what do your visits involve? 

I have been visiting Kevin who is 90 for the past 2 and a half years. Before COVID, Kevin and I used to volunteer together driving buses on Thursdays and taking seniors in
Tweed Heads on outings to the shops.  

His sons come around to see him, but he benefits from meeting other people too. There is an isolation issue on the Gold Coast, a lot of senior people are quite isolated here. Kevin doesn’t get to see or know his neighbours.  

Kevin is always active even though he has age issues. He builds cars and motorbike models every day. We are mates who have a love for motorcycles and mechanics, so when I take him out for a coffee, we talk about motorbikes.  

You have been with IGC for a long time, what motivates you to stay involved with volunteering with lonely seniors? 

I enjoy talking to people and getting someone involved in a conversation.  

Kevin’s had a great life; he’s done everything he wanted to do. He has a good attitude, and it benefits me a lot visiting him. It’s not just about spending time, we affect each other’s lives and mental wellbeing by
simply doing things together. 

In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organisation does? 

Basically, it’s about connection. Everyone has an interesting story to share, and you bring people together to share their stories and maybe a whinge, over a cuppa.  

Do you have a message to share? 

Depending on your beliefs in life, you have a good shot in life to make it great. Spread the love. It’s just about giving to other people and being kind to yourself and others. There are truly rewards in all of it. As you become older,
you have to find ways to be happy. Life is about being out there, and when you come into other people’s lives, you can make a small difference in a positive way. 

What’s next for you? 

Perfecting my American accent and doing some English movie stuff. I really connected with the American actors in the Elvis movie. It’s addictive to be on set and be creative. I also love the dramatisation and make-belief of the process.
When I was part of the Memphis Mafia in the movie, many people thought I was actually from the Cosa Nostra! I would love to get involved again in something like that. Talking to people gets you thinking out of the square. I also take acting
classes, network with other actors, and continue to stay involved in the movie industry to gain more experience.  

If you’d like to become a volunteer with In Great Company and make a senior’s life less lonely, you can do so here.