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Check mate - a chess match made in heaven

Boredom and loneliness are more than a trivial problem for many older people, with a recent report by the Australia Institute finding that people who say they are lonely are 14% more likely to pass away prematurely.

That's why we're so grateful for your commitment to our vital, everyday work connecting elderly and isolated Australians with their communities.

One way we help older people is by matching them with volunteer visitors who share their interests, backgrounds or hobbies. It's a very different relationship from one that an elderly person might have with their carers or a paid support worker.

One such friendship that has been made possible through your support is between a gentleman called Roy and Red Cross volunteer, Brett - both avid chess players.

"He's all right, this fella," Roy says about his new mate. "I can still teach him a thing or two about chess, but he does okay, except when he takes too long to make a move. Then I start messing with him, because I get bored. I tease him about his love life."

And from Brett: "He's just as good as me! Sometimes our games go on for hours. We chat about sport as well and usually have the soccer or the cricket on in the background."

Things weren't always so lively in Roy's house. At 80 years old and living with the early stages of dementia, he had few people to spend time with and passed long hours watching television before meeting Brett.

When Roy was referred to Red Cross, he told us he wanted someone to play chess with. We contacted the local chess club and by lucky chance Brett, the president, had already thought of volunteering. It really was the perfect match!

"Because I'm pretty passionate about chess, Roy is the perfect person for me to visit, and I really enjoy spending time with him," Brett says.

Support Red Cross at this year's City2Sea

Hit the ground running and be part of the Red Cross Heroes team at one of Melbourne's most popular running events.

City2Sea is a 15km run that falls on Sunday 15 November. Starting outside of the MCG, runners enjoy passing some of the most iconic sites of Melbourne and finish down by the water in St Kilda.

Sign up to run for Red Cross and you will get a free singlet to run in on the day. We will be with you every step of the way with training tips to get you across the finish line and fundraising ideas to help you reach your target.

Register now »