Sunday 3 January 2010


Regular readers will know that I work part-time as a 'befriender' at a children's hospice. One of the joys of doing this is that I never know from one day to the next, who I shall be working with.

On a recent visit I was introduced to a 7 year-old boy who we'll call Ben. It was Ben's brother who was dying. Ben was perfectly fit and healthy but on this occasion, his Mum had been up all night at the hospital with his brother and was now utterly exhausted and sleeping upstairs. Ben needed entertaining for a few hours and I was lucky enough to get the job.

I introduced myself and Ben was having trouble remembering my name so I pointed at the end of his foot ('Toe') then at his knee - Toe - Knee and he laughed at this silly name. We went outside and played football, then a game of hide and seek. We played a board game and I after that I dressed him up in a pirate costume. I played the guitar and he pretended to play one along side me. We made a great duo.

He was getting tired now so we sat on the sofa while I read him a story as he instinctively cuddled up to me. That was when it happened. He looked me straight in the eye and said 'You're my new best friend'. My insides melted.

Later, we played some more. 'Can you remember my name now?' I asked him. 'It doesn't matter any more' he replied, because I'm just going to call you 'Best friend'. Life doesn't get much better than that.


  1. I'm glad I came by, via Joe Todd's blog, to read this very touching story. What a lot of good you did in that single encounter!

  2. Tony fantastic story. Great start to the new year...

  3. Tony, this is such an endearing story. I'm sure your heart just melted when he christened you his new best friend!