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December 13, 2017

Forgive me. I’m feeling a bit of an emotional old Hector this evening.

Steven went to Virgin Active for about four years. He used to love standing on the periphery of the water aerobics group and singing along to In The Navy. He made lots of friends there. People like John, and Tony and Malcolm, that he still talks about. The person who made the biggest impact on him was Trevor. Trevor was in his early eighties at the time. They used to meet in the changing rooms. Steven would arrive as Trevor was leaving. Steven used to show Trevor his latest spot, or scratch and Trevor’s response always made Steven laugh – “Take care of that spot young Steven”.

Then one day, Steven had a meltdown in reception and lashed out at Trevor. Thankfully he didn’t make contact but it led to Steven receiving a lifetime ban from the club. Trevor was mortified and tried to speak up on Steven’s behalf but the manager refused to back down.

At the time it felt like their relationship was going the same way as most of Steven’s relationships – nice whilst they last but they never last for long.

That was in the spring of 2012. That Christmas Trevor phoned me. He’d tracked down our number and asked if he could come and see Steven at Christmas. He arrived with a box of biscuits and Steven was over the moon. About the biscuits. And about seeing his old friend. The first thing Steven did was to show Trevor a newly picked scab on his leg.

Every Christmas since, Trevor has turned up the week before Christmas with the biscuits. Even last year. We moved in October but Trevor phoned social services to find out where Steven had gone.

He phoned an hour ago to arrange this year’s visit. We chatted and he told me his wife had been in hospital four times this year, including two strokes. She was admitted for the fourth time last weekend. I told him he had enough on his plate and not to worry this year. Trevor wouldn’t hear of it. He’s too fond of Steven and doesn’t want to disappoint him.

I could never tell this story to the professionals. They’d side with the manager of Virgin Active and be consumed by risk assessing. They would reduce Steven and Trevor’s relationship to a circle of support.

I guess there’s a 60 year age difference between Steven and Trevor.

Their relationship is quietly beautiful. I wouldn’t want that contaminated.


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  1. A tale of a ‘quietly beautiful’ relationship equally beautifully recounted; this might be my post of the year.
    All good wishes to you and Steven.

  2. Di Macbeth-Case permalink

    Love it. ❤️💕Understanding many have this quality, professional are slaves to forms, rules and correct terminology. So glad that so many don’t read those books ❤️💕

  3. weary mother permalink


    Merry Christmas to you both.

  4. Now that’s a proper Christmas message💟👏💟

  5. Pauline Thomas permalink

    Mark it is really lovely to know that a lovely person can see beyond the behaviour and can offer Steven his friendship. Wonderful. I agree with wisegrannie.

  6. Trevor Richards permalink

    What a lovely Christmas story, about Steven and Trevor’s friendship and at this time of the year its especially wonderful to hear.

    Best wishes to you all.

  7. Lisa permalink

    Trevor deserves to be crowned, what a splendid man to put sense before ego.

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