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Volunteer Betty is Ninety Not Out

Betty Edkins, a long-term volunteer with the Friends of St Mary’s Hospital café and shop, had her 90th birthday celebrated in style in the hospital foyer, in front patients, visitors and staff.

After blowing out candles on a cake specially made by assistant manager Pauline Armstrong, Betty said, “I feel like a VIP!”

Betty is much more than age-defying; she also refuses to give up any volunteering despite suffering four heart attacks and two strokes, and undergoing 12 operations.

“I started as a volunteer here in 1993, to pay back all the help the hospital had given me, and continued to give me. I will carry on doing so as long as I can, although I have now lost the sight in my right eye and the other one is getting bad too.”

Many years ago Betty had been an auxiliary nurse at St Mary’s, and a Marie Curie nurse. On retiring she was involved in palliative care, and was a visitor at the-then three Island prisons.

But Betty, who lives at Northwood, has made some concession to the march of time. Whereas she once volunteered for the Friends four half days a week she now works half day each Friday. She does, though, volunteer at the hospice every Wednesday.

“I don’t feel my age – just 16 going on 17,” she declared with the kind of warm smile that is so familiar to foyer customers.

Café/shop manager, Lisa Brodie, said of her: “She’s brilliant. She cheers us all up.”

Betty said her 90th is also being celebrated by her family, including her son who is travelling down from Birmingham.

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