KEITH Hamilton is living testament to the vital role a group of unsung heroes plays in the lives of dozens of Tamworth’s elderly residents every week.
The 93-year-old needs dialysis three times a week and relies on the volunteers of Co-Care Inc to ferry him to and from the hospital.
The service has been quietly going about its business of taking people to medical appointments and shopping expeditions for more than 25 years.
Without Co-Care and its army of volunteers, many locals would face the sometimes intimidating prospect of catching taxis or public transport.
Mr Hamilton said the companionship he had forged with his regular drivers over the past six years was just as valuable as the practical service.
“They are very important for me,” the Alblas Lodge resident said.
“They are very good and genuine people who are always on time and never let you down.”
Tamworth retiree Pam Pavey has been driving with Co-Care for 17 years and said it was a pleasure to spend time with so many interesting people.
“It’s not a job, it’s a privilege. It’s a great opportunity to give something back to the community,” she said.
“The thing I like most about Co-Care is talking to the clients and listening to the fascinating stories that they tell.”
Co-Care chairman Doug Campbell said there was no fixed charge for the service but small donations from the clients were accepted.
“They don’t have to have a medical certificate and we don’t ask whether they’re a pensioner or not,” he said.
“It’s open to any member of the public who hasn’t otherwise got transport available to take them to one of these appointments.”
Mr Campbell said Co-Care was always on the look-out for both new drivers and new clients and bookings could be made by calling 6766 4000.