AN East Lothian widower is taking steps towards happiness again after striking up a friendship with a local walking buddy.
Prestonpans local Peter Dewar, a retired taxi driver of 20 years, has bonded with former fireman, Ray Mackie, through their love of walking trails and Elvis Presley.
Peter, 69, joined Changes Community Health Project, supported by Scotland’s walking charity Paths for All, after losing his wife to lung cancer four years ago.
Attending two weekly walks in Prestonpans and Haddington, Peter believes that the support and companionship provided by Ray has helped him work through his grief and combat isolation.
Peter said: “When my wife passed four years ago, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt a bit isolated and was in a bit of a dark place.
“I started walking for a bit of social interaction and to make friends. That’s when I met Ray.
“We instantly got on through our love of being active and the fact he knew my brother-in-law. It is a small world.
“That’s the nice thing about the walking group – we are all like-minded people.”
When not out trekking trails, the pair regularly meet up outside of the groups to catch up and take part in one of their favourite activities.
Peter added: “We definitely enjoy meeting up for a karaoke night. Our guilty pleasure is to have a sing-a-long to Elvis. He’s the king.”
Changes Community Health Project runs a range of positive wellbeing groups in and around East Lothian, including a variety of health walks led by a dedicated team of volunteers.
Heather Cameron, the walking co-ordinator for the group, said: “It’s great to see people coming together, especially Ray and Peter. Their friendship is just lovely.
“The group is so more than just walking. It is great for socialising and bringing individuals together outside of the group.
“It’s our job to make people feel safe and welcome when they come along, and if they become friends then that’s the icing on the cake.”
There are over 550 health walks running across Scotland every week. For more information, visit www.pathsforall.org.uk.
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