Volunteering

Christmas during the First World War: in pictures

WW1-xmas-hospital-wardBritish Red Cross nurses had to celebrate the festive season hungry and over-worked, yet they were still determined to be cheerful. See the First World War through the eyes of the women who were actually there.

1. The busy life of a nurse

This witty cartoon triptych depicts the typical life of a Red Cross nurse (they were known as Voluntary Aid Detachments) serving abroad during the war. The sketches show how her life officially should be, how she dreams it might be, and how it actually is. Poor woman…

WW1-xmas-triptych More

‘Oh, yes they did.’ How First World War nurses put on a pantomime

Xmas-pantoOur Red Cross nurses saw untold horrors and worked themselves to exhaustion during the First World War – but many still found time to put on a Christmas pantomime.

As most of us settle in for another warm, well-fed festive season, it seems almost incredible to think of how different life was for many Britons a hundred years ago.

That’s certainly the case for the Red Cross nurses – known as Voluntary Aid Detachments – who served in military hospitals across Europe during the Great War.

These young women (and sometimes they were very young) saw and dealt with scenes that are unimaginable to us now. More

Our transport volunteers: a million miles of goodness

Volunteers Eric Beckley, Sue Hartley and Geoff Vaulter (with service user Valerie Sharp seated in car).

Volunteers Eric Beckley, Sue Hartley and Geoff Vaulter (with service user Valerie Sharp seated in car).

Meet the unsung heroes who clock up half a million miles every year taking cancer patients to hospital – and find out how you could help too.

Most people don’t even know the British Red Cross has a transport support service. But we do, and it’s a real cracker.

In Somerset, there’s an especially nice project that helps cancer patients who are either without transport or too unwell to drive.

On a daily basis, our volunteers drive people from their homes to two cancer treatment centres in Bristol and Taunton. And just check out these figures. Each year:

70 volunteer drivers help…

1,000 cancer patients, clocking up…

500,000 miles in the process. More

Meet Jess: the humble life-saver

Jess-Bradley-HCA-winner-BLOGJess Bradley has won a major award after saving the life of a man with a horrific injury – but she doesn’t see anything remarkable about her actions.

Today, Shetland Islander Jess Bradley was given a young heroes’ award by the British Red Cross.

And no wonder. Even a mere mention of the disturbing scene she had to deal with (helping a man with a deep gash in his neck) would be enough to make most people feel queasy.

But the trained first aider is surprisingly blasé about the whole incident. As she puts it: “I didn’t think it was anything remarkable – it was what I’d been trained to do, an instinct.” More

The curious tale of the ‘black doctor of Paddington’

Dr-John-Alcindor-BLOGA determined doctor who overcame bigotry and prejudice to help others during the First World War has finally won recognition. As Britain celebrates Black History Month, we trace his story.

John Alcindor was a gifted doctor, respected and trusted by his many patients.

Originally from Trinidad, John graduated with a medical degree from Edinburgh University in 1899. He then worked in London hospitals for several years before going into practice on his own.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, he naturally wanted to use his skills to help with the war effort.

But despite his qualifications and experience, he was rejected outright by the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914 because of his ‘colonial origin’.

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Commonwealth games are go!

The ‘friendly’ Games are underway, and we’ve got hundreds of volunteers on hand to make sure everyone has a safe stay in Glasgow. Here’s a quick snapshot of what we’re up to.

1. First aiders, first aiders, everywhere…
Commonwealth Games two first aidersYou can barely turn a corner in Glasgow this week without bumping into a British Red Cross first aider. We’ve already been treating quite a few cuts and scrapes, and our teams are providing cover for 16 hours a day at the big BBC riverside festival in the city. More

‘’I was ready to die – but Rebecca brought the whole world back to me’

Kathy Malcolm and Rebecca OwenBLOGFor Kathy, it seemed like things would never get better again.

She had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her kidney failure, due to diabetes, meant dialysis treatment three times a week. She was slowly going blind. And to cap it all, she could no longer maintain her lovely big home.

The 64-year-old, from Llandudno, recalled: “I was at my lowest point – I was basically ready to die.” More

Learn first aid: see the world!

Lauren-Nicol-2-600x337pxLauren signed up to learn first aid in her home city of Glasgow – which led to her helping people across the globe.

When Lauren Nicol went to a local first aid course, she had nothing more ambitious in mind than learning some useful life-saving tips.

She recalled: “I wanted to learn about first aid, and saw in a newspaper that the British Red Cross offered free training if you became a volunteer – so I signed up.”

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