Brighton-promenadeGrannies splashing in the sea? Eighty-year-olds on helter skelters? Welcome to a day at the seaside with the British Red Cross – Sixties style!

This’ll gladden your heart and warm your cockles – it’s a lovely film showing a Red Cross trip to Brighton 50 years ago (full video below).

Brighton-telescopeBack in 1965, our volunteers took a group of older women, many of whom lived alone and didn’t get out much, for a day trip to the coast. It was a highlight of their year.

You can see the happiness etched on their faces. As the narrator says: “One of [the ladies] said she couldn’t sleep for thinking of it.”

Pier pressure

The short film shows how eager the ladies were to grab their opportunity to have a grand day out. In the course of a single afternoon, the feisty group tackle a fairground punchbag.Brighton-punch-bag

They go for a splash and a paddle in the cold briny.Brighton-sea

A couple of excited daytrippers demonstrate that you’re never too old to go whizzing round a helter skelter.Brighton-helter-skelter

They gleefully bash each other about on the dodgem cars.Brighton-dodgems

And after all that hard work, they tuck into nice bowls of cockles, mussels and whelks.Brighton-whelks What could be more English seaside than that?

‘Secret’ service

Interestingly, the film opens with a dapper and improbably posh-sounding chap stating: “Until last week, I had no idea that welfare for old people formed a very important part of the Red Cross’ work.”Brighton-presenter

He’s not alone. To this day, many people still don’t know about our social care work in the UK – which is a shame, because the Red Cross helps a lot of people.

(Just last year, for example, we supported 75,000 people at home. And our transport volunteers drove thousands more either to hospital appointments or for days out.)

Lovely moment

At the end of the film, a lady looks wistfully from the coach steps at Brighton pier and the rolling waves. Then she simply says: “I’ve really had a lovely day”.Brighton-coach-steps

Fifty years on, that brief moment still sums up exactly what the Red Cross is still striving to do.

We seek out the old, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised, the poorly. And we show them it’s still possible to have a lovely day.

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Want to help the Red Cross reach even more vulnerable older people? We have been short-listed to become the Co-op’s new charity partner, with a focus on our vital support at home work. If you know any Co-op workers or members, please ask them to support us before 13 July.

Find out why people are scared of growing older.

Home alone: why pensioners need our help following a hospital stay.

This film is taken from Britain on Film, a new BFI project that reveals hidden histories and forgotten stories of people and places from film and television archives.