Nostalgia: ‘There was always a jolly atmosphere’

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ALTHOUGH he has only just celebrated his 90th birthday, Livingston resident John Patterson still has vivid memories of the 24 years he spent as a volunteer driver at the town’s Braid House day centre.

A place of warmth and companionship for elderly people from across the region, Braid House has been offering hot meals and activities such as art and quizzes since it was established in 1980.

Mr Patterson said: “I started as a volunteer driver, bringing in the old folks in the morning. I would drive them to the centre and then back home again at night.

“There was always a sort of jolly atmosphere and I enjoyed my time there. I never once regretted being there.

“Everybody co-operated – the whole bunch of them. They worked together to satisfy the needs of the old people. There was a sort of camaraderie. You would see volunteers come in, linked arm in arm with an elderly person.

“Of course, there was the occasional row but generally everyone worked together for a good result.

“The place has not changed very much at all. It’s a very simple building with a flat roof and skylights that let in lots of daylight.

“I think the only change I experienced was when I gave up driving and I was moved into the lounge where we looked after the old folks. At a certain point, we’d take them into the dining room and make sure they got their lunch.”

Mr Patterson revealed his contribution was not only transport-based.

“I also used to sing and even did a bit of karaoke. I used to entertainment the guests quite a lot, which I think they really enjoyed.”