What could happen if a 90 year old man found new friendships?

Poet, artist and long time visitor to Arran, Christina Milarvie Quarrell shares some reflections on a recent journey of friendship:

My story begins in 2016 when I met 90 year old Frank Coyle and his 83 year old sister Pat Coyle.
In 2016 Frank and Pat both lived independently in their homes within the Govan Community of Glasgow.
In September 2020 Frank moved to a new home at Erskine Care.

A chance encounter led to new friendships.
Later in Life friendships have gifts to offer.

In 2016 Frank Coyle was walking through Central Station Glasgow.
My son David on that day was part of a group installing a display of Sporting Memorabilia reflecting the Life and Accomplishments of the World Champion boxer Benny Lynch.
Frank walking past the display was very interested in all the photographs and stopped to talk with David.

Within a few minutes Frank began to speak about his memories and tell stories of the Glasgow Boxing Communities in the 1930/1940s.
Frank in his younger years had boxed as an amateur boxer.

Frank is a wonderfully animated story teller.
The Benny supporters began to hear Benny’s life History from a first person narrative.
This vibrant older man had lived through the time of Benny Lynch life, a big supporter and was enjoying the telling of boxing stories.

The trophy’s, boxing gloves and photographs on display come into the here and now as Frank’s face lit up with love and deeply cherished emotions about this working class hero.

Following on from this chance encounter The Remembering Benny Lynch Statue Campaign took Frank and his sister Pat to their hearts as one of their own.
Frank and our mutual friend Jim McLaren are especially great company to be in.

Frank was invited out to Celebration fund raising dinners alongside Mags and Jim Watt, became active in the Remembering Benny Lynch Statue Campaign, visited Kelvin Amateur Boxing Club and Arti SanToi Art Gallery at The World Famous Barras.

Frank records in his own words the past four years of his new friendships –
“exciting” ”
“opened up my life ”
“made me happy ”
“I have enjoyed some wonderful social events among good people, great times”

Frank Pat David Michelle and Gary Barton (Mr Glasgow) often meet up for more story telling in a cafe at Govan Shopping Mall.
As a Poet and gatherer of stories I could listen and talk with Frank and Pat until the coos come hame.
Everyone benefits from intergenerational relationships.
Older adults are our living history and our first person archives.
Let’s Embrace our older folk.
The gifts of relationships with our older adults which may follow from new found friendships are to be
warmly welcomed and treasured.



















Photographs reflect this story. Copyright CMQ2020. Thanks to Pat Frank JML DC MG for permission to use photographs.

Many thanks to Christina for letting the Voice publish her piece here. ER.