Life-savers' 700 years of service

TRIBUTES were today paid to WRVS volunteers for doing so much more than delivering meals as a group with more than 700 years' helping between them received long-service awards.

TRIBUTES were today paid to WRVS volunteers for doing so much more than delivering meals as a group with more than 700 years' helping between them received long-service awards.

Organisers hailed the volunteers as the eyes and ears of the community - and for sometimes saving the lives of those they visit.

Several of the meals-on-wheels team at Felixstowe are older than those they call on each day.

Presenting 40 certificates and eight medals for long service, operations manager for meals on wheels for Norfolk and Suffolk, Lolita Lockwood said: “Today is about saying a really big thank you to our volunteers.

“Some of them have been delivering meals every day for 40 weeks a year for many years, loyal and regular volunteers who are vital to the running of this very important service.

“But it's not just about the meal they are delivering.

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“Some of the people we visit are housebound, some not seeing any other people for days - the volunteer is a friendly face, someone to chat to, and the eyes and ears of the community who look to see if there are needs or problems and report them back so that we can get in touch with next of kin or social services if help is needed.

“Our volunteers have found people who have suffered strokes and needed medical help, or falls, someone stuck in the bath. They have helped save lives.”

The certificates awarded ranged from five to 15 years, and for those over 15 years there were medals.

Jean Goodall was rewarded for 39 years and Joan Cone for 40 years and both are still serving.

“I really enjoy it and always have,” said Mrs Cone, 86. “I started in 1967 when we served a much bigger area and in those days we used to prepare and cook all the meals from scratch - spending many hours peeling spuds.”

The Felixstowe WRVS centre at The Leydens, Langley Avenue, delivers to 60 people - 420 meals a week, nearly 22,000 a year.

Volunteers are always needed to help. People interested should contact Jenny Roche on 01394 284637.

Have the WRVS volunteers helped you in a special way? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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