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The power of a phone call

When Ron Bowes had a heart attack at home last April, he was back home within 48 hours. As widower Ron lives alone, he then had to rely on family and friends to shop for him as lockdown kept everyone at home.

In stepped Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Kindness Volunteers, one to do his shopping and one to give him a kindness call, and that weekly phone chat with student Catriona McCall has become the highlight of Ron’s week.

Ron, 77, of Rosyth in Fife, says: “Catriona calls me every week. I really look forward to her call. It’s so nice to speak to someone with fresh young ideas and a young outlook on life. We often just chat away, then something will come up and I’ll relay some of my tales of old.

“I used to live abroad, and I think she likes to hear about my experiences and it’s lovely to share them with her. I do speak to my family, but it’s nice to have a completely different conversation with Catriona.”

Catriona, 22, is originally from Fife and now lives in Aberdeen where she is studying occupational therapy at the city’s Robert Gordon University. She has been calling Ron every week since April, just two weeks after his heart attack.

She says: “I was on a break and saw lots of people signing up to help others. I wanted to do something productive. I had done a wee bit of befriending before, and although I was nervous, I knew it was something I could manage.”

“I get such a lot from calling Ron, I forget that it’s even called volunteering.”

Last summer Ron introduced Catriona to bird watching via the Woodland Trust webcam of the osprey nest at Loch Arkaig near Lochaber.

Catriona says: “It was wonderful to watch, and it is something I would never have seen or had an interest in without calling Ron.

“I get such a lot from calling Ron, I forget that it’s even called volunteering, for me it’s just a lovely thing to do and I look forward to our chats.  We have all experienced isolation this year so making a call to someone is mutually beneficial. 

“I sadly lost my Gran during the pandemic and I had to say goodbye to her over the phone, so I understand the power of a telephone call.”

If you or someone you know would benefit from a Kindness Call, please sign up at

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