Finsbury & Clerkenwell Volunteers is a local charity that helps isolated older people in South Islington. Among other things they run a lunch club at the Vibast Community Centre on Old Street – which is where we met 96-year-old Betty Cordock, a lifelong Gunners fan…
“Our lunch club is a wonderful place – a special little club. I come on Mondays and Thursdays, and my weekends are so busy that when I come here on a Monday I can never remember what I did!
“I started getting support from Finsbury & Clerkenwell Volunteers 23 years ago. I was a carer for my sister Diddy, and the volunteers sat with her while I went out for a few hours. They also sent us on a special needs holiday – my first for many years. We went to Eastbourne and they even sent a carer for me too, even though I didn’t need one then!
“When my sister died, they gave me all the support you would get from a loving family. They still do. As well as being taken by ambulance to the lunch club, I go on shopping trips and day trips. The drivers are all lovely, and even pat the cushions for me. I tell them they don’t have to do that – I’m nobody special – but they still do it. I’ve even had drivers bring me dinner at home. That’s just what they’re like.
“The people here are different to some clubs, which can be very cliquey. We’re all friends. The food is good too, and the ladies here don’t get paid anything for doing it.
“I’ve lived here for 80 years, and have always been an Arsenal fan. I first went to Highbury in 1933 – what a wonderful team we had then. Five of us used to go regularly, and we’d all stand right at the top, behind the goal. It cost about half a shilling then!
“For my 90th birthday I got to go to Emirates Stadium. Well, because I was in a wheelchair, I had such a good view – right at the front, near the centre circle. Arsenal have always been the best club – you just can’t ever imagine them losing.
“When I think back to the 1930s, old people are looked after so much better than we once were, believe me. I’m talking from the heart here. Time is running out for me but there will always be people who need this club. If we can keep our flag flying we’ll be OK.
“To make a donation or volunteer please visit www.finsburyvolunteers.org.uk. Betty and her friends need your help!”
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