Volunteer Special: Ted Clark's amazing adventures

By PSS | Posted: Monday August 10, 2020

Volunteer van driver Ted Clark likes nothing better than to share his and wife Shirley’s sense of adventure with the residents of Walmsley House - Getting them out and about in the care home’s trusty van for a weekly blast around the South.

On any “fair to better” Monday, you’ll find the residents of PSS Enliven’s Walmsley House lined up, eagerly awaiting Ted and the care home van’s backing-up manoeuvre to the home’s entrance - signalling the beginning of an afternoon’s adventure.

“Hello Ted,” they smile, and 80-year old Ted returns the greeting like an old friend, as he and Enliven Quality of Life Coordinator Cheree Tawhara store the picnic basket and help the them safely on board in a well-oiled procedure, made-so by the 3 ½ years they’ve been doing it together.

Then they’re off.

North, south, east, and west - Ted drives the van according to Cheree’s impressive and inventive itineraries.

“We’ve been all over the place … literally!” says Ted.

“From ‘best-ever’ fish and chips at Riverton, to fresh-fruit ice-creams at the Otautau blueberry farm … We’ve taken in the sights and enjoyed good food at many, many cafés all around … We’ve driven on the sands, heard the sounds and tasted salt air at Oreti beach … We’ve explored and shared a yarn or two with the folk out at the Thornbury Vintage museum and implement sheds …

… And I think we’ve driven to, been through, or picnicked at every park in the District, or at least as far afield as our bladders allowed!”

For Ted, it’s not just about the drive, or the scenery or an event.

He enjoys listening to and joining in with the chat, having a laugh or two with residents and reciprocating their recall of adventures and life experiences.

“We get to share experiences together and get to know one another’s life stories, and I think that’s a big part of why these trips are so important to the residents. Going out and getting a bit of a change in scenery is one thing, but building friendships by making new memories and sharing old ones, that’s what makes them special.”

Ted says driving the van for Walmsley House residents has more than fulfilled his reasons for volunteering; to keep active in mind and body. He’s never regretted it for a second.

However, he’s aware his arthritic-joints are impeding his abilities and thinks it wise “… Enliven recruit a younger driver before my wheels fall off!”

If you are interested in volunteering for our Enliven service, please send your enquiry to our Community Services Manager Lynn Morton at LMorton@enlivensld.nz