Mark Richardson of Loafers Vinyl & Coffee at the Piece Hall is selling ‘George’ Mugs in memory of his good friend and customer George Stubbs and donating the funds to Age UK to combat loneliness in older people.
Last year, Mark fulfilled a lifelong dream by opening a record shop in the Piece Hall, at which George became a regular customer.
Mark was close to his grandad, James. “He has always been my mentor, and I looked up to him. He was really looking forward to seeing the shop,” Mark said. However, James died three days after opening day.
Just two hours after Mark heard the news about his grandfather, an elderly man came in to the shop for a coffee.
“He had a coffee and a brownie - there were crumbs on his jumper. I remembered him even though it was packed. His name was George.”
George came to the shop again a few days later and the two men talked for over an hour.
“It was fate that my grandad died and, on the same day, George came into my life,” said Mark. “He was this lovely old fellow, with no family, no children.”
George visited the shop every week and Mark says he feels like their friendship honours his grandad.
Together they would talk about Halifax, and share stories about their lives.
After hearing George spent last Christmas alone, Mark invited him to his house. “He was very humble, and was totally taken aback.”
Mark’s fiancée and children welcomed him to their home on Christmas Day and treated him as family and a lovely day was had by all.
Sadly George passed away at the end of February 2018 and Mark wanted some way to commemorate his friend. He came up with the idea of a ‘George’ mug which he could sell in Loafers and donate the money raised to a local charity to combat loneliness in older people. He chose Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees.
Lisa Butland, Chief Executive of Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees said “We were really touched by the story of George and Mark. Simple acts of kindness can make such a difference in people’s lives so we can all play our part to help older people feel less lonely.”
There are over 36,000 people aged 65+ in Calderdale and 20 per cent say they are lonely most or all of the time.
That is over 7,000 older people experiencing overwhelming feelings of loneliness and there are almost 15,000 living with long term health conditions – the key determinant of loneliness.
The mugs were designed by Mark’s friend at Vinyl Soul, keeping costs to a minimum and therefore all profit will go to the charity.