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In this month’s Heritage Bulletin Blog I would like to bring you all a little Christmas Spirit. To help assist me I have searched through the December issues of the WVS Bulletin
and thus have enlisted the help of Lady Reading and Eleanor Roosevelt. These two very important (though somewhat forgotten) figures of the twentieth century were great friends and supported each other in their philanthropic work in the UK and USA. The following are their messages to members of WVS in 1942
“The fourth Christmas of the war is with us, and although this is obviously no time for ordinary Christmas festivities, it is an opportunity for me to send to all W.V.S. members a message of my very real admiration for the work achieved, the way it has been done and the strength shown in carrying it through.
We all realise on looking back through these years of war how much we have learned, how often we have had to attune ourselves to difficult circumstances and how great a volume of undertaking has been accomplished.
Looking forward we know there is much more to be done with far fewer members to do it, but because we have learnt to work as a team and because of the difficulties we have overcome together, we can now regard ourselves as seasoned and tried and capable of yet greater undertakings. However hard the times ahead, we are in a better position to meet them because of what we have been through.
In our service our aim is not recognition of success-nor are we wishful of public thanks, but we are determined on achievement. No task is so slight that it falls below our notice-no effort so great that it lies beyond our attempt.
We fight for our country with unspectacular but unceasing determination, and my wish to you is that this New Year may hold for you steadfastness of endeavour, strength of resolution and undiminished courage.”
“I am so deeply impressed by the work of the Women's Voluntary Services that I want to send them this Christmas greeting, for they exemplify the true spirit of the Christmas season. This year the Christmas spirit reminds us again of the fact that there is no joy in living as great as that of giving, particularly when we give of our own strength and effort. This is the ideal of the women in this organisation, and therefore, I send you my
warmest Christmas greetings and my hopes that before long we will again, all over the world, be able to say "A Merry Christmas" with the knowledge that we are working in peace to bring it about for all peoples.”
Today the greatest gift we can give to others is still our own time. Across Britain our volunteers can still be seen working as a team in a number of undertakings from serving tea in hospital canteens to giving companionship to those who are lonely in their own homes; even now at this busiest and for some hardest time of the year. I continue to be inspired by their dedication to voluntary work. With the opportunity to curate the exhibition at Kelvingrove
I have seen first-hand how our volunteers meet the needs of today in their local areas. I look forward to seeing them again in the New Year when I go to collect our Archives.
From all of us here at the Heritage Collection we wish you our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.