Remember when: Volunteers help those in need

Women from the WRVS collect blankets for refugees of the India-Pakistan conflict at their headquarters in Grosvenor Crescent in 1971

Women from the WRVS collect blankets for refugees of the India-Pakistan conflict at their headquarters in Grosvenor Crescent in 1971

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FROM mobile libraries to meals on wheels, fitting hospital telephones to assisting in international aid efforts, the WRVS has touched countless lives over the decades.

But this week, 75 years on from its launch, the “Women’s” has been dropped from the historic organisation’s title in a bid to make it more appealing to both the males and females it aims to serve.

And with that, the Royal Voluntary Service – as it will now be known – is pledging to help two million older people over the next ten years.

The pledge builds on the overwhelming effort its team of volunteers has made across the Lothians throughout the years.

Pictured here back in April 1987, WRVS volunteer Olivia Illingworth made sure city pensioner Jane Roxburgh, then 87, was well catered for when she delivered her an evening meal through the Meals on Wheels service. The innovative scheme, which served hundreds of older people across the Lothians, was invaluable to those in need.

As was the WRVS Household Library Service – also known as “Books on Wheels” – which saw volunteers deliver literature to residents across the city, in the comfort of their home.

In November 1981, Isobel Marshall and Elizabeth Gordon, along with her Jack Russell, set out to do exactly that, with baskets crammed full of books from the city’s libraries.

“The marvellous thing about the WRVS, the really extraordinary thing about it is that no-one is doing a job they don’t want to do,” the Evening News reported at the time.

Such dedication was shown also, ten years earlier, when volunteers collected donations for refugees of the India-Pakistan conflict, packing them into their headquarters in Grosvenor Crescent, as pictured here.