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A New Year message from Lady Reading

Lady Reading always sent WRVS members a Christmas and New Year’s message, this one is a gift from January 1963.

THERE are so many gifts I should like to send you this Christmastide - but they are either beyond my purse or my capacity. And so I send you a thing of great value and seldom found - it is the gift of being able to play a game which is interesting and intriguing in your own mind.

Decide first what line of country you wish to play it in: - memory, construction, imagination, fairy castle - and then make your own rules and go ahead.

Two things must always dominate this game - first once started, it must be carried through, for whatever length of time you assign yourself - and second whilst you are playing it you must stick to that particular subject and not wander off in other directions. If, for instance, you choose “memory” it is necessary if you wish to recall nice happenings, to tie them to time, place, or person, BUT if you want to try and strengthen your memory - then you must try simple exercises of memory - such as at bedtime trying to think how many people wearing spectacles you met during the day.

My present is, I think, an unusual one, but it has given me such endless pleasure throughout my life I hope it may do the same for you. And it comes with affection and good wishes that are so warm I hope you can feel them without being told and I trust they will bring much happiness to you in the year ahead.

Happy New Year.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 04 January 2016.

Labels: Gift, Game, New year, Lady Reading, memory, brain training

The recent past

I pride myself on the fact that I have an excellent memory; and especially so when it comes to the achievements, triumphs and tribulations of our charity. It is my job after all, and I think (though I try not to claim it too loudly) that I probably know more about it than anyone else alive! Well it is my job!

I have been the Archivist at the Royal Voluntary Service now for nine years this month. Sometimes it seems a long time, until I realise that the first Archivist, Mrs Doreen Harris, did the job for 24 years, and when she took up the post had already given WVS twenty years service.

In 2008 I had the unenviable task of creating timeline of the organisation’s history. No one had done this before and I spent almost a year on and off, reading through archive material and compiling lists of notable achievements and events. To say that whittling down the items to include from 70 years of history was hard would be a crashing understatement! This very long and painful process produced one of the best little booklets we have ever done a concertina timeline which became so popular we had to reprint it at least five times.

It is now seven years since we produced that and I got a call the other day asking if we could revive it. While thankfully we could re-use most of the previous one, the last seven years have to be included and while the distant past of the organisation is like an old friend to me, the recent past can sometimes seem like a foreign country! While this is the past of Royal Voluntary Service I have lived myself, it sometimes seems less real that the activities of Lady Reading, Averill Russell and those other pioneers at Headquarters in the 1930s and 40s.

Thankfully the much missed Action magazine was there to help jog my memory and below you can see a small selection of the items I chose to represent the charities achievements over the last seven years. Do you agree with me? I am sure you will let me know if you don’t!

2008 - WRVS published its first independent social impact report, which showed that 73% of the people we helped felt less isolated.

2009 - 45 WRVS rural transport schemes gave 60,000 lifts to those in need and WRVS launched its ‘Give us a lift’ campaign.

2010 - Margaret Miller celebrated her 100th Birthday and also 70 years of volunteering for WRVS.

2011 - £1.4 million was gifted by WRVS to NHS Greater Glasgow, The largest amount ever gifted in one go!

2012 - WRVS set up 67 Hubs (local offices) across the country to bring the organisation of Voluntary Service back into the community.

2013 - After 75 years, the WRVS dropped the ‘W’ from its name and becomes the Royal Voluntary Service.

2014 - Royal Voluntary Service opened its first Men’s Shed in Northumberland, giving older men a chance to make things and make friends.

2015 - Royal Voluntary Service launched the first Grandfest, a festival, celebrating the skills of older people and offering them a chance to pass those on to the next generation.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Monday, 12 October 2015.

Labels: Margaret Miller, Rural Transport, Timeline, NHS Greater Glasgow, Hubs, Social Impact Report, Men's Shed, Grandfest, Lady Reading, Foreign Country, memory

I'm fine thanks!

Today I thought I would share with you all a poem that one of the volunteers found this morning and had them all chuckling away at how true it was. It was written by a member of the WRVS CAMEO. Luncheon Club, Lytham St. Annes for their Christmas party in 1973. The club was run for the physically handicapped and elderly people of the town. Its name means ‘Come And Meet Each Other’

I'M FINE, THANKS!

There is nothing the matter with me,
I'm as healthy as can be,
I have arthritis in both my knees
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze;
My pulse is weak and my blood is thin
But, I'm awfully good for the shape I'm in.
Arch supports I have for my feet
Or I wouldn't be able to be on the street,
Sleep is denied me every night,
But every morning I find I'm all right.
My memory is failing, my head's in a spin
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

The moral is this, as this tale I unfold,
That for you and me who are growing old,
It's better to say ''I'm fine" with a grin,
Than to let folks know the shape we are in.
How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my "get up and go" has" got up and went",
But I don't really mind when I think with a grin
Of all the grand places my "get-up" has been.

Old age is golden, I have heard it said,
But sometimes I wonder as I get into bed,
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,
My eyes on the table for when I wake up;
Ere sleep comes to me - I say to myself
Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?

When I was young my slippers were red,
I could kick my heels right over my head,
When I grew older my slippers were blue,
But I still could dance the whole night through.
Now I'm old - my slippers are black,
I walk to the store and puff my way back,
I get up each morning and dust off my wits,
Pick up the papers and read the Obits.,
If my name is still missing, I know I'm not dead
So I get a good breakfast and go back to bed.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 24 August 2015.

Labels: Old age, Poem, Lytham, memory, teeth, old age, slippers