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She lost her beloved husband, but refuses to lose her battle against loneliness

PUBLISHED: 08:45 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:45 13 March 2018

Anne Cousins

Anne Cousins

Archant

A north Norfolk widow looking for friendship after bereavement wants to set up a new social group.

Anne Cousin's husband Hugh, pictured at FelbriggAnne Cousin's husband Hugh, pictured at Felbrigg

Anne expected to be sharing her retirement with her husband.

Instead she is on her own – and lonely.

But rather than accepting a solitary future, and letting go of some of the things she enjoys most in life, she is determined to find other people in similar circumstances to share anything from a board game to a holiday.

Her husband of 27 years, Hugh, died just over a year ago.

Anne CousinsAnne Cousins

The couple had moved to Cromer, from Cambridge, just 15 months before.

“We loved it and embraced our new lives here, joining some old friends who had moved here before us, as well as others who had followed us here,” said Anne Cousins, a retired executive PA. “We were also fortunate enough to make new friends in our individual leisure pursuits. We are both quite outgoing people, so life was certainly looking good for us, until that fateful day.”

Hugh, a retired quality and safety manager, was playing golf when he collapsed with heart failure. Since then, Anne has struggled.

“While I firmly believe my future remains here in Cromer, what staggers me is the lack of opportunities to meet people in similar circumstances to my own,” she said. “I know it is not what Hugh would have wanted for me, and I certainly am not ready to accept this for myself.”

Invited to fewer social events, she said: “It feels as though I’m viewed as being a different person since losing Hugh. The dynamics of a single person don’t always suit a world of couples, no matter how longstanding the friendships have been.”

And so she is looking for new single kindred spirit friends, both female and male.

“I see it as a means to enable people who are fed up doing things on their own to continue a social life and getting out and about. It could be just a couple of members who pal up and find they have things in common or it could be a larger group. It could be someone inviting others for a cuppa and a game of Scrabble at home, or for a walk, a quiz night, an evening out at the theatre. Anything that they might well have very much enjoyed doing with a lost loved one but struggle to do on their own.

“I do not wish it to be a forum or network for us to continue to lick our wounds of widowhood or solitary life,” she said, “More to inspire us to continue with our lives without the loneliness of being alone.”

Although she is an online member of a group for widows and widowers she has not found many members geographically close enough for the kind of social meet-ups she hopes for.

She enjoys going to aquarobics, loves shopping, and is considering joining other local clubs but said: “I make myself go to the cinema which surprisingly isn’t too bad, but things like going to a pub or restaurant can be somewhat clumsy and uncomfortable.”

Anne and Hugh had four children between them, from previous marriages, and 10 grandchildren. She retired five years ago and the couple had made sure that they each knew how to run their home, and finances, but although the practical transition was easier than it otherwise might have been, the emotional impact has been devastating.

“Everyone says I have done remarkably well, but of course they only see what you let them see,” said Anne. She steeled herself to take a holiday and rekindled a couple of friendships but said she is still desperately lonely.

“The absolute worst times, beyond Hugh’s death, are the sheer loneliness for him. When you get up, when you go to bed, when you want to share some news, when you sit down to a meal at home on your own, when you are feeling low or even feeling happy.”

And so she is looking for people within easy travelling distance, north of Norwich, to help her form a group. Other similar groups could work elsewhere. To find out more email Anne with brief details of your circumstances and any ideas, at annever0n1ca@sky.com

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