Former Malmesbury mayor Steve Cox is launching his long-awaited Athelstan’s Army project this week.

The scheme, which is aimed at elderly people in Malmesbury and the surrounding area, has taken Coun Cox since last year to put together.

He said: “I’m trying to start a campaign to get volunteers to visit an isolated, lonely person once a week.

“I want to get people to identify people who are on their own.

“There are people who in their lives have done a lot for the community and people who are lonely.

“There are two prongs to the project – a regular drop-in club on Friday mornings at the town hall from 10am to noon, and volunteers to visit isolated people.

“In the community, lots of elderly people are isolated. They could be isolated by circumstances or it could just be one of those things.”

The drop-in club launch will be held tomorrow in the town hall from 10am.

Coun Cox, who was the Mayor of Malmesbury until May last year, said: “I raised the money as mayor and had help from Age UK.

“They gave a worker for free for six months to help set up and with paperwork.

“There will be activities, for example on Friday we’re going to show a film made in 2012 with older people talking about Malmesbury.

“We’re hoping to have activities like games and people giving advice about benefits and health and fitness.

“We’ve had a survey of things for older people in Malmesbury and the villages, and there’s something on every day of the week.

“We’re hoping to publish a booklet of them.”

n Helping hands: Page 46.