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Positive outlook helps this charity pair’s friendship bloom

Words by Blyth Brentnall

Margaret Wyatt, 91, and Joe Xerri, 71, might never have met were it not for the charity, Marie Curie. Fortunately they were introduced and the most incredible friendship blossomed as a result.

That’s brilliant! How did they become such good friends?

After being diagnosed with bone cancer last year, Margaret - an upbeat character with a joie de vivre - was introduced to Marie Curie volunteer Joe. Despite him being 20 years her junior, the pair became the best of friends.

“It's amazing because we’re like two mates. We agree on everything, it’s weird how we click. It’s a blessing I suppose,” said Joe, who was nominated for a Coronation Champion Award by the charity.

Marie Curie introduced them as part of their Helper Service in which volunteers support the charity’s beneficiaries. They allow carers to take a break and help in many different ways - from making a cup of tea to taking their charity partner to appointments.

What makes their friendship so special?

The Helper Service is aimed more at offering practical support and Margaret has many other good friends. The pair see it simply as a boon that their friendship formed and has gone from strength to strength.

Joe and Margaret particularly enjoy going on excursions together. They’ve visited many beauty spots around Wales, enjoying the wildlife and lakes of Comeston and the seaside resort and historic sites of Barry Island.

“I so look forward to it, because what’s the alternative, just sitting in the house?” said Margaret.

What also helps their friendship flourish is their openness and shared love for chatting to whoever they meet.

“We’ve met so many people,” said Margaret. “It doesn’t matter where we go, we always end up talking to people don’t we? Because Joe does like talking to people.”

“You’ve got to live your life, make the most of it, laugh about it,” Joe added. 

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

Marie Curie. They provide specialist support for people diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Learn more here.

Cancer Research UK. This charity provides information for anyone affected by any kind of cancer. Support them here.

Maggie’s. Offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and the people important to them. Find out more here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs