Lonely veteran urges others to seek help

John Frederick Bell. Credit: Susan Newton

A Lancashire veteran delivered a speech in London in October to raise awareness of the help available to people that may be suffering with loneliness.

73-year-old John Frederick Bell, from Accrington in Lancashire, attends a men’s club every Monday which has helped to combat his loneliness and is now urging others to do the same.

The group is held for men, enabling them to socialise and take part in recreational activities such as table tennis and pool.

Mr Bell said: “There are a lot of veterans out there that don’t know there’s help out there. There’s friends out there.”

As a result of his confidence, Mr Bell is now on better terms with his family and will be spending Christmas with them this year.

Mr Bell added: “Normally, I would be on my own, but this year I have been told I won’t be celebrating on my own. I am going to have a good Christmas.”

He enlisted into the army in 1963 and served for four years, describing it as the “best years of his life.”

However, over the past 30 years, Mr Bell succumbed to deteriorating health problems and became more and more isolated.

Earlier this year, he was referred to Age UK, where he then made the decision to join the men’s group.

Stuart Collins, the Veterans East Navigator for Age UK, said: “He wants us to help more people.

“If we can help more people as much as we have helped him that’s why he’s more than happy to get involved in doing speeches down in London to 60 people.”

For more information on the help available, visit https://www.ageuk.org.uk/lancashire/.