Retired deli owner Vivien Bishop, 71, has a sherry in her hand and a smile on her face as she chats to other people at our day session in Blandford.

Vivien is dropped off by her husband every Thursday for five hours of activities in the town’s community hospital overlooking the bowling green.

“When it’s sunny we’ve been known to have a cream tea outside as we watch the bowling,” says creative practitioner Debbie Elsmore.

Vivien, who settled in Blandford after living in London and South Wales, and ran the Salisbury Street deli before working on Tesco’s deli counter, said: “When Weldmar’s day services were recommended to me I thought, oh no, a hospice – I’m not at that stage yet.

“But I was persuaded to go along for a coffee and see what it was like and I thought I’d try it.

“It was fun – we do different things all the time with Debbie and always something I’d never do at home. I’ve never done arts and crafts, but I do enjoy it here.”

Mum of two Vivien added: “For me it’s getting out of the house – it’s good for you.

“And it gives my husband a break.

“My GP referred me to Weldmar’s day services, but only when I asked to be, after a lady from POP told me about it.

“I have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder), emphysema and kidney problems and sometimes my consultant will tell me things I don’t quite understand and the ladies here will sort out all the information.”

Vivien was diagnosed with COPD in 2000 but went on working for another eight years before taking early retirement as it was getting difficult to pick up the huge slabs of cheese on the counter.

“I loved not working the moment I walked out the door,” she says, with a grin.

“My husband was bored and couldn’t settle to it when he retired, but not me.”

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