Brendan & Aaron: A friendship that will last the ages

by Sylvia Pownall

Brendan Crean, 70, lives in Kilbarrack and looks forward to his weekly visits from Aaron Gilmartin, 32. The pair were ‘matched’ up a year ago – their anniversary was July 26 – and they’ve become firm friends.

Brendan has cerebral palsy, uses a motorised wheelchair and does not have the use of the left-hand side of his body. But he’s not short on energy, humour and optimism.

He told The Gazette: “I read about the service in the local paper and thought it would be a good idea. We get on like a house on fire. He does odd jobs inside and outside the house for me and we have a bit of a laugh.”

ALONE took Brendan to the Grand Hotel in Malahide for his 70th birthday in April and at the Christmas party in the Red Cow last year he won an Eir Silver Surfer award and a Galaxy tablet thanks to a nomination from Aaron.

He is a vocal advocate for disability rights and can regularly be found fundraising at his local shopping centre in Kilbarrack. At one point he had his own radio show on Coolock-based Near FM and he has enrolled with CLEAR adult education.

Brendan said: “I’ve been living on my own all my life. I was brought up in institutions, then foster homes, then care homes – but I finally broke out into the big bad world because I was tired of being looked after by nuns.

“I love it because I’m my own boss. Aaron comes every Tuesday after work and we just sit down and have a chat. We’ve become great friends, he has a good sense of humour. I’m easy going and like to have a laugh.”

Aaron couldn’t agree more. He said: “Brendan likes to keep up with articles on disability so he gets me to do a bit of research for him on that. He’ll give you homework – and he’s learning to use the internet so I’ll help him with that.

“We have a bit of craic, I’d be slagging him and he’d be slagging me. I’d make him a cup of tea and he’ll say ‘that’s a crap cup of tea’.

“He hasn’t got family so it’s great for him. I think he does look forward to me calling in on a Tuesday.”

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