Belfast boxer Carl Frampton has shown his heart is as big as his right hook, by throwing his weight behind a scheme intended to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly.
Frampton, who was known as ‘the Jackal’ is a former two-weight world champion.
He hung up his gloves in April 2021 after more than a decade in the ring with his final fight being a defeat to the talented US fighter Jamel Herring, who stands five full inches taller than Frampton.
It was a brave way for Frampton to end his career in the ring, but he has no regrets and vowed to spend quality time with his young family in his retirement.
However, the Jackal has not lost his appetite for a challenge and joined forces with the ‘Check in and Chat’ initiative recently.
The campaign is being run by Age Northern Ireland with the help of Ulster Bank volunteers.
Its aim is to offer support and company to any elderly people who may find themselves feeling alone and isolated.
The covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions have left many people unable to mix with family and friends as they would ordinarily do.
The Check in and Chat campaign gives them the chance to talk to a real person and have a conversation. If there is any further support needed, then the team can also help arrange that and put them in contact with the right people.
Champion Frampton was happy to join the Check in and Chat team and even took to the phones to do a stint of answering calls himself.
The star spoke to a 75-year-old gentleman named Jim and as they got talking, they realised they may have moved in similar circles around Belfast in the past.
Frampton said: “I would encourage people to get behind it. It was great to talk with Jim. We talked about football, fishing and some people it turned out we both knew.
“Jim was a real gent and I’m really glad he enjoyed the conversation.”
Linda Robinson of Age NI said the service “provided a lifeline to individuals, many of whom are without family or friends.”
If you would like to find out more about the Check in and Chat campaign, then visit ageni.org.