FAMOUS Greenock-born actor Richard Wilson is helping to get a support scheme for local senior citizens off the ground.

Richard - best known for playing Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave - has teamed up with Contact the Elderly, who have been trying to recruit people to start a volunteer group for older people in Greenock.

The charity organises free, monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people in the homes of volunteers but has been struggling to gather support in Inverclyde and urgently needs people to come forward.

They have enlisted Richard's help in a renewed bid to sign people up.

Richard told the Tele: "As an older person myself, I realise that people don't often want to bother with you. I have a lot of social contact through my work, however, I've talked to lots of older people who are living isolated and lonely lives.

"I know I would find it hard to bear if I was in this situation - that's why I'm thrilled to be supporting and raising awareness of such a worthwhile cause."

Richard, who recently returned to his hometown to open the newly revamped South West Library, has also recorded a video message for Contact the Elderly which will be shown on its website on 20 December.

Staff at the charity hope his rallying call will persuade people to help get the Greenock group up and running.

Margaret Oliver, their west of Scotland development officer, said: "Anyone who can spare a few hours one Sunday a month, has a driving licence, a car and a capacity for drinking tea, is eligible.

"And for those interested in becoming a host, it would just involve a few hours twice a year.

"Our volunteers genuinely get as much out of the experience as our older guests."

People interested in volunteering for Contact the Elderly in Greenock should call 01389 605915 or email margaret.oliver@contact-the-elderly.org.uk