Volunteer honoured for 60 years of Red Cross service

LONG-SERVING Iris Long with the Mayor of Havant Councillor Geoff Tart
LONG-SERVING Iris Long with the Mayor of Havant Councillor Geoff Tart

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A British Red Cross volunteer from Hayling Island has been given a special award for her incredible achievement of 60 years of service.

Iris Long received a long service badge and certificate at the annual lunch held by the volunteer group based on Hayling Island.

Iris, who is 94, first joined the Red Cross in 1951 in the Epsom and Ewell area, and undertook such duties as nursing, loaning mobility equipment and fundraising.

In 1956 she became the Commandant of the centre and was also welfare officer for Banstead.

When Iris retired she and her husband John, who was also a volunteer, moved to Hayling Island and joined the very active Red Cross group based in a portacabin.

Iris soon became the centre organiser but following an arson attack on the portacabin in 1991, the Red Cross moved to 34 Elm Grove.

Iris and John were instrumental in raising the funds to purchase the property. They secured generous donations from many local businesses, organisations and individuals and held lots of fundraisers, including auctions, barbeques and jumble sales which eventually raised £70,000.

Operations Director Colin Brown said: ‘The Hayling Centre owes a great deal to Iris. Without her commitment, energy and foresight the thriving centre would not be where it is today.

‘We are extremely grateful to both Iris and her late husband, John, for all their hard work which has enabled us to be able to deliver vital services to people facing a crisis in Hayling Island.’

Iris resigned as centre organiser in 1993 but continued to fundraise and volunteer for mobility aids.

In recent years Iris’s health has prevented her taking an active role but she remains a valued and much admired member of the local centre.

The Mengham centre continues to loan out wheelchairs and other mobility aids and has a thriving first aid group who attend events where first aiders are needed.

The centre is also used for fundraisers such as the clothes sales and quizzes.