FOR almost 30 years Gwen Joynes gave her time to give a helping hand to others.
Over that time, she has built up a voluntary service from scratch and helped to brighten the lives of thousands of patients.
Now the 83-year-old from Blackpool, who was chairman of the Blackpool Red Cross Therapeutic Care Service team, has retired and was honoured with a special ceremony at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. She was instrumental in implementing the Red Cross Volunteer Therapy service locally 27 years ago and built the service by recruiting the therapists and offering comprehensive training to them.
Today the service has volunteers at all the hospitals across the Fylde coast and at Trinity Hospice, in Bispham. They provide free patient service which includes manicures, hand treatments and massages.
Gwen, from North Shore, said it was initially an advertisement in The Gazette which inspired her to take up the role.
She said: “I saw an appeal in the paper for therapeutic care at the hospital made by the then director of nursing, Gordon Roberts and decided to offer my services. I have loved every single minute of it.
“I have worked with some wonderful ladies over the years.”
Gwen’s role will be taken over by Barbara Rudge and Gwen Mathews – who between them have over 30 years’ experience as Red Cross volunteers.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can call Barbara on (01253) 855784 or Gwen Mathews on (01253) 398935.