They say that volunteering is at the heart of a community and, if that is the case, Stonehaven’s Red Cross shop is right at the centre.
The team of 40 volunteers who give up their own time to run the charity shop in the town’s Barclay Street came together for a very special ceremony last Thursday, to celebrate a combined 425 years of service.
Certificates were handed out after a lunch at the Belvedere Hotel to nine volunteers, who between them have completed a total of 210 years of volunteering for the organisation.
Volunteer Advisor Colin Stewart said: “This is the first time we have ever honoured so many volunteers at once. Nine certificates in one go has got to be some kind of record within the service.”
One such volunteer has served a staggering 65 years with the Red Cross, joining up as a schoolgirl.
Alice MacGregor, who lives in Stonehaven, was recognised for the achievement with a special certificate at the event.
Alice told the Leader: “Although it has changed a lot over the years, there is still a good place for the Red Cross. I love the shop.
“My family have always been very supportive of my work with the Red Cross.
“People come in for a chat as much as they come in to shop. I have never been away from the Red Cross, and I have no plans to leave any time soon!”
Area manager for the North East of Scotland, Richard Boyd, said: “We can see today that Stonehaven is very well supported by volunteers.
‘‘We have had a shop here for 21 years, and over £2 million has been raised.
‘‘We have lots of regular customers, which is fantastic, but the volunteer base here is what tells us that we have the balance just right.”
Shop manager Kat Davies said: “We are so thankful for every one of our volunteers, we couldn’t trade without them.
‘‘They are all so loyal and willing to come in and help, which is amazing when you consider that they are giving up their own free time.”