Tag: volunteers

Daniel’s story: safe burials can help end Ebola


Daniel James stands in front of his Red Cross vehicleDaniel James has overcome a lot of fear to do his job.  His sister begged him not to do it. Even he wasn’t sure he could face the task ahead.

But after ten years of volunteering for the Red Cross, Daniel decided to accept the role of safely burying bodies infected by Ebola.

Please donate now to the Ebola Outbreak Appeal


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

A day to remember volunteers in the First World War

Carol Haselwood's grandmother, Marjorie Edith Taylor.

Carol Haselwood’s grandmother, Marjorie Edith Taylor.

Every Remembrance Day, we pay our respects to the millions of people who died in the First World War. During those four years, the British Red Cross signed up thousands of volunteers to help the sick and wounded. And now our new archive is helping people learn about the volunteers in their own family – and discover some surprises.

Volunteer Carol Haselwood, 60, from Somerset, has been busy typing up our wartime records, from thousands of handwritten index cards. So far, she has gone through around 700 cards – and it was all triggered by her desire to get to the bottom of a family mystery.

“I’ve got a photo of my mother’s mother in what looks like a nurse’s uniform. It sparked some discussion with family members: one of them said my grandmother wasn’t a nurse, she was a cook.

“I thought, this is interesting – and when I went on the British Red Cross website, I realised my grandmother had been a VAD.” More

Dan Snow finds out family history facts in our First World War records


Dan Snow First World War records

Broadcaster and historian Dan Snow knew very little about his great-grandmother’s role in the First World War – until he saw her records at the British Red Cross. We hold information on all our historical volunteers, from what they did to where they worked – and it’s now online for the very first time.

“My great-grandmother died 20 years ago, and being able to see her index card is as close as I’ve managed to get to her since then,” says Dan Snow, as he stands in our museum archive.

“She was clearly a young woman living an unimaginably difficult life, so different to the lady who I knew in her 90s.” More

Secret history: unusual volunteering in the First World War


Fundraising activities of Gwent Branch of Red Cross

We’ve just launched a digital archive, presenting historical records from the First World War online for the first time. It shows that our volunteers were a motley bunch, of every class and age – and they weren’t all nurses, either.

In fact, the new archive reveals that some volunteers boosted the war effort in surprising ways.  More

Art from the past: ‘diary paintings’ from a First World War volunteer


Ambulance depot 2 Procter

Every month, we dust off a piece of art from the British Red Cross collection to give it the attention it deserves. This time, it’s some paintings by Ernest Procter – who used his extraordinary talent to capture life as a First World War volunteer.

During the war, Procter documented so many scenes from his time on the frontline that he became known as his unit’s ‘official artist’. More

Wheelchairs of World War One: the untold story


Wheelchair-WW1-amputee-BLOGYears before the NHS even existed, the British Red Cross was providing mobility aids and prosthetic limbs to injured soldiers. As our service celebrates its 100th anniversary, a new documentary explores the harrowing stories of the first people we helped.

If you’re free this Sunday evening, here’s an idea.

Grab a drink, park yourself on the sofa and check out Secret History: World War One’s Forgotten Heroes on Channel 4 (7-8pm).

This fascinating programme looks at the heart-rending experiences of almost two million British soldiers who suffered life-changing injuries and disabilities during the First World War. More

Cardiac arrest runner gets lucky escape


Sean Deans with first aid volunteers David Hart and Steven Gay. PIC: Alasdair MacLeod

When a young athlete collapsed at the end of a half-marathon, our cool-headed volunteers saved his life.

It was only as he crossed the finish line that Sean Deans realised all might not be well.

The 29-year-old, who had just completed the Great Scottish Run, recalled: “I just felt as if I needed to catch my breath. Next thing I know, I woke up in an ambulance.”

It turns out the army reservist had suffered cardiac arrest. As he lay there on the ground in Glasgow, he actually ceased breathing and his heart stopped. There seemed little hope. More