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The GI bride who was swept away

GI-brideAs Valentine’s Day approaches, Sylvia O’Connor describes how being a 1940s Red Cross volunteer led to love – and whisked her off to the other side of the world.

During the hectic days of the Second World War, I left school and got an office job at the Piccadilly Hotel in London’s West End.

The whole area was full of American GIs, and all the office girls used to gather by the window to watch them in the street. It felt like watching a movie.

When I heard the Red Cross were looking for English girls to help out at their social clubs for the Americans, I decided to help. More

Eleven relatives reunited

On the eleventh day of helping, the Red Cross gave to me: eleven relatives reunited

Two refugee girls smilingMany families have spent time together in the last few days, but across the world people have lost contact with their loved ones after conflicts or natural disasters. Can you volunteer to help us put families back in touch? Find out more about being an international family tracing volunteer.

The ‘12 days of helping’ are 12 ideas to help other people and change your world in 2014. Tomorrow: give someone a lift and be a chauffeur with a difference.

Nine children dancing

On the ninth day of helping, the Red Cross gave to me: nine children dancing

Young dancers on stage at the O2 in London

Do you know a young dance fan? Give them a taste of stardom with the Red Cross national dance competition. Dance: Make Your Move is for all young people aged four to18. Anyone can have a go and finalists get to perform at the indigO2 at the O2 in London. All it takes to join in is enthusiasm and a love of dance. Registration for the 2014 competition is open now.

The ‘12 days of helping‘ are 12 ideas to help other people and change your world in 2014. Need a new year’s resolution? Find out tomorrow how you can get fit and raise funds for the Red Cross.

Eight teas with milk in

On the eighth day of helping, the Red Cross gave to me: eight teas with milk in

Volunteer drinks tea with someone who needs help at home

Visiting someone at home who has just come out of hospital, is recovering from an illness or is going through a life-changing event can make a real difference to their lives. Making a cup of tea, helping with the shopping, playing a board game or just going for a walk can really brighten someone’s week and give them back their confidence.

Find out about volunteering to provide support at home.

The ‘12 days of helping‘ are 12 ideas to help other people and change your world in 2014. Tomorrow: a fantastic opportunity for young dancers.

Seven spokes-a-shining

On the seventh day of helping, the Red Cross gave to me: seven spokes-a-shining

Volunteer cleans a wheelchair

We loan people wheelchairs, bath seats, walking frames and other mobility aids after an illness or surgery. Use your DIY skills to clean, fix and maintain this vital equipment and help people to live independently.

The ‘12 days of helping‘ are 12 ideas to help other people and change your world in 2014. Know someone who loves to talk?  Tune in tomorrow and see how a chin-wag can change a life.

Six schools-a-learning

On the sixth day of helping, the Red Cross gave to me: six schools-a-learning
Primary children doing a floor activity

Become a school speaker and help children think differently about the world they live in. You could give a short talk or lead sessions that get students fired up about humanitarian issues such as child soldiers, disaster work, HIV and the laws of war. It doesn’t take up much time but it can be very rewarding for you and the young people in your community.

See our full range of volunteering roles.

The ‘12 days of helping‘ are 12 ideas to help other people and change your world in 2014. Tomorrow: know an inventor, a fixer or a gadget lover?

Five golden pounds

On the fifth day of helping, the Red Cross said to me: five golden pounds

Person donates money to the Red Cross

Give £5 – or however much you can afford – to the British Red Cross and we’ll use your money to help people in need.

Five pounds could provide blankets and refreshments to vulnerable people following a UK emergency. Or it could provide clean drinking water for people overseas for a year. You can even choose to give to a special project so you can see exactly who your money helps.

The ’12 days of helping’ are 12 ideas to help other people and change your world in 2014. Tomorrow: brave enough to take on a room full of inquisitive schoolchildren?

Four garden birds

On the fourth day of helping, the Red Cross gave to me: four garden birds
Flowers at an open garden event

Every year, secret gardens that are usually closed to the public open their gates to raise money for the British Red Cross. So whether you’d like to open your garden or volunteer outdoors, meeting people and helping the event run smoothly, take a look at our Open Gardens scheme.

The ’12 days of helping’ are 12 ideas to help other people and change your world in 2014. Tomorrow: give a little, change a lot.

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