“At the end of the day we’re just two women having a chat.”

These are the words of Mary Clare, from Leigh, who signed up for charity The Silver Line after being inspired to join aged 16.

She watched an emotional video on Comic Relief about one of The Silver Line’s most famous callers, Bob, and says it really “hit a nerve”.

The organisation was set up by journalist Dame Esther Rantzen to tackle loneliness and isolation.

Mary, who studies social work at Manchester Metropolitan University, is the charity's youngest volunteer.

Now 19, she said: “I sat through all these other emotional videos throughout the night, but it was Bob’s story that left me in floods of tears.

"I immediately decided to volunteer but I found out that I was too young, so I had to wait until I was 18 to apply.

“I didn’t know anything about older people and loneliness but I’m so glad I volunteered as I really enjoy it and get so much out of it.”

Mary describes herself as a typical millennial. She goes the gym and is a committed vegetarian.

Despite this, she does not notice any barriers with her telephone friend Rosemary, 64, from West Sussex. She says the North-South divide is probably more significant than the age gap.

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“Everyone is human, no matter their age,” Mary said.

“It’s lovely to hear her stories and she provides me with a different perspective. It really is like a real friendship.

“Also, because we’ve been carefully matched, and we both know why we are there, it has never been awkward.

“She has so much life experience and can give me advice and has helped me to see things from a different perspective.”

Founder of The Silver Line, Dame Esther Rantzen, said: “Volunteering transforms the lives both of the volunteers and their beneficiaries. Without them, crucial services would crumble or cease to exist entirely”, she says. “We at The Silver Line need them desperately, they need no previous experience.”

To cope with the growing number of calls The Silver Line is opening hubs across the country.

To find out more about volunteering click here.