Police share tea with elderly couple who rang 999 because they were lonely

'What else could we do but make them a brew and have a chat' said police

Alexandra Sims
Thursday 12 November 2015 12:31 GMT
In England 51 per cent of all people over 75 live alone
In England 51 per cent of all people over 75 live alone (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Police have offered tea and sympathy to an elderly couple who rang 999 because they felt lonely.

Two Greater Manchester Police Constables arrived at Fred Thompson and his 95-year-old wife's home in Middleton, Manchester on Tuesday, after she rang emergency services suggesting her husband was suffering from complications.

PC Stu Ockwell and his colleague PC Richardson believed Mr Thompson had fallen, but on their arrival, discovered the couple had made the phone call out of “desperation” and were not in need of medical attention.

A Tweet from the GMP Middleton read: “Just dealt with a 95-year-old couple who called the Police as they were lonely.

“What else could we do but make them a brew and have a chat.”

Mrs Thompson, whose first name has not been disclosed, is in poor health and currently cares for her husband, who is going blind, the Manchester Evening News reports.

PC Ockwell said the couple were having difficulty caring for each other and were in need of company.

Mr Thompson told The Telegraph it was a “nice change to have somebody to talk to, somebody different to talk to.”

The officers have received a mixed response from commenters since mentioning the call out on social media.

Many praised the officers, saying their actions showed a more “human side” to the police.

Tracey Snelling said: “Care in the community from GMP. Wonderful gesture. You’ll have made a difference”

Others criticised the officers for wasting police time. Michael Henderson said: “Sounds nice but how about dealing with proper incidents?”

In response to the comments both PCs Ockwell and Richardson said: “We both know that we did nothing more than any other Police Officer would have done anywhere else in the country if they'd found themselves in that same position.

“The original post was to show that we don't just deal with crime or the less desirable elements of society, but we also deal with incidents that statistics simply can not measure.

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“The response has been somewhat overwhelming and a perhaps a touch humbling.”

They added: “The couple concerned last have a fantastic network of family, friends and neighbours, but what this has shown me is that society has seen the need to help the people we know are struggling or in need.”

In England, 51 per cent of all people over 75 live alone and 5 million people say the television is their main form of company, according to the NHS.

According to Age UK, over 1 million older people have not spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member for at least a month.

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