How weekly phone calls with a stranger changed my life

Trevor Greenacre, from Burgh Castle

Trevor Greenacre says the Macmillan Telephone Buddy service has helped him to open up about his feelings living with incurable cancer. - Credit: Macmillan Cancer Support

A retired butcher living with incurable cancer said weekly calls from a telephone buddy have changed his life as he encourages others to reach out for support.

Trevor Greenacre, 75, from Burgh Castle, built a reputation for award-winning pork pies at his Great Yarmouth butchers but in 2016 was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, for which there is no cure.

His cancer has gradually affected his mobility, and he said he had never been one to share his feelings especially talking to his family about his worries. 

Through the Norfolk and Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group, he signed up for a weekly call from the Macmillan telephone buddy service, and weekly chats with a volunteer some 500 miles away in Scotland have "changed his life".

Mr Greenacre said: “I was very, very down, but with the guy who spoke to me, David, the advice he gave me was absolutely right. He got me through the very, very low stage of my life.


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“Sometimes it can be easier speaking to a stranger than your family, because you don’t want to burden them.”

His wife Margaret, 73, said her husband doesn't use a mobile or laptop so the weekly call to their landline gave him a degree of independence.

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She said: “Trevor is a very private person and struggles to communicate his emotions, but on the phone with David he was able to relax and they became great friends.

“One of the things Trevor talked about with David was death - the fact that no one is immortal and how he could talk about it with me – which really helped him.

“For Trevor, having someone at the end of the phone who he could open up to and find some common ground with, was invaluable.”

Macmillan Cancer Support in partnership with the Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership is expanding the service.

It was set up at the start of the pandemic and has supported 2,500 people through weekly calls.

To sign up, visit macmillan.org.uk/telephonebuddies or call 0808 808 00 00. 

Cancer services in Norfolk and Waveney are urging anyone  invited to attend hospital for an appointment or treatment to continue with it as planned, regardless of whether they have had their Covid-19 vaccination or not.

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