Meet the volunteer: Lachlan Templar

Apr 11, 2023

Lachlan was looking for a way to get out more and meet new people – as even in his age group, loneliness is extremely common. Over the last two years, he’s developed an amazing friendship with Reg and his wife, Glenyse, and loves hearing
stories of what life was like pre-electricity.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Lachlan and I grew up in the small town of Texas, QLD before moving to Toowoomba in 2016. I enjoy watching YouTube, hanging out with friends, gaming and driving around in Toowoomba. It’s a decent sized city, the people are nice, it’s
clean and we don’t get too much traffic. I also like chatting with people, keeping busy and trying out new things.

How did you get involved with In Great Company?

I found In Great Company through the job site Indeed. It was during the COVID pandemic, and I was looking for something that would get me out more and meeting new people. I started searching for volunteer opportunities locally and came across one
of the volunteer ads by In Great Company. I found the role quite different, and I was curious to connect with someone older, to maybe learn what kind of life they lived back in their younger days.

What attracted you to the cause or why do you volunteer with seniors facing loneliness and isolation?

It caught my interest and becoming aware that there are so many lonely seniors in the community. Getting together and meeting Reg and Glenyse made me happy knowing that I was doing my best to avoid them feeling lonely.

Loneliness is extremely common even with people my age. It’s a strange effect from social media. I am lucky to be surrounded by friends and family most of the time, and it feels good to fill the void for those who experience such lonely days.

Did anything or anyone in your life play a role in providing inspiration for your involvement with lonely seniors?

None of my parents or siblings convinced me to do this. I decided to enjoy doing this on my own. My parents and family often ask me about my visits and want to hear about what we talk about. I am sure that they never saw me doing something like this.

My grandparents also passed away when I was very young, so I didn’t get to know them at all growing up. So, maybe this is close to what it would have felt to have grandparents in a way. Reg and Glenyse have been my adoptive grandparents, and
this is a very special experience for me that I will never forget.

Who do you visit and what do your visits involve?

I have been meeting Glenyse and Reginald (Reg) for two years now. I was initially paired with Reg, but when I was visiting him, Glenyse was there, and we all just got along so well. I first started visiting them when they were still living in their
own home and continued when they moved into a care home.

Photo of Reg (left - deceased) and Glenyse (right)

Glenyse grew up on a farm and continued to live and work there till she retired. Her late husband, Reg, didn’t grow up farming, but he liked driving a truck. They had a variety of animals, and they would partner with companies to sell their
produce. They told me how they used to live back then when there were no refrigerators. I find it fascinating to hear about the world in those days.

Unfortunately, Reg passed away very recently and now Glenyse will be on her own. I hope to continue visiting her for as long as she may need company. I wouldn’t want her to feel lonely on her own.

Can you tell us what makes this friendship special for you?

We had a really good connection quite early on after a few conversations. It didn’t take long to find out how easy it is to talk with Reg and Glenyse, and now just Glenyse. She is so authentic and down to earth. Even though we have completely different
hobbies and lives, we can talk about anything and make each other laugh.

Towards the end, Reg’s health wasn’t good, and he was resting more often when I visited. He was almost 90 years old, and I guess while there were signs, I have to admit that I still didn’t see it coming this soon. I am sad to have
lost a good friend, but I am more than happy to continue visiting Glenyse. We have developed a great friendship and I wouldn’t want her to feel alone now.

Have you learnt anything about yourself or others through this experience?

Most of the things I never knew was about their farm life back when they first married in 1959 and onwards. This was all well before I was born.

I have listened to so many stories of Reg and Glenyse owning a store and business for 4 years. Their life on a farm, making sandwiches for their workers to start the day off, and driving trucks. I have learnt how Reg and Glenyse went through life without
electricity. I couldn’t imagine my life without electricity. So many things were done differently in those days compared to now. It puts a lot of things in a different perspective.

Do you have a story shared with your senior client that really moves you?

I am very grateful for how life has changed. Living conditions are so much easier and convenient now. It has really opened my eyes up to what they went through. For instance, living in different states in Australia back in World War II when they were
at school, they even had to hide in bomb shelters. My school life was very easy in comparison.

Do you have a message to share with others looking to become a friendly visitor volunteer?

It’s a great way to hear incredible stories and make closer connections. The stories are the main one for me. Sitting around chatting is all we pretty much do yet I have gained so much. Keeping them company and checking up on them sounds simple,
but it’s a great way to foster a friendship and get along. They are the best people to talk about life in general for different experiences and perspectives.

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