A Moray taxi driver has taken eight pensioners on a day trip after becoming concerned about growing loneliness within the region’s population.
Former tradesman Garey Stewart, who now runs Elgin-based Guvnor Taxis, has watched as his father’s old colleagues and friends have become more isolated.
And so yesterday the businessman took his cab out of service for the day to take the group to sights spread between the coast at Lossiemouth and Burghead and on to distilleries on Speyside.
The eight pensioners, who had a combined age of 675, all retired after working as tradesmen or in industries including whisky and utility companies.
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In recent months, all have found it harder to get out and about to catch up with old friends and build links with new ones.
Mr Stewart said: “I know a lot of people are just sitting about wanting to do something.
“Loneliness is a pretty big issue for these guys as they get older.
“I wanted to do something to jog some memories among them and get them talking about old times and meeting new people.”
Mr Stewart’s tour of the region culminated in him playing the bagpipes under the Craigellachie Bridge while the group traded old stories over lunch next to the River Spey.
Syd Watt, from Elgin, who celebrated his 80th birthday on the tour, had struggled to leave his home for the last month due to increasing mobility problems.
However, the prospect of an afternoon touring Moray’s countryside gave him the extra strength needed to make it through the day.
The former distillery worker said: “It’s just been brilliant and I’ve made a lot of new friends.
“I’m not always able to get out of the house now so to be out in the countryside and to be walking about is just absolutely fantastic.”
Bob Walker, 82, from Elgin, added: “Getting out with the guys has just been perfect. It’s been brilliant to get out in the sun and enjoy the day.”