On 21st June 2019 thirty-two volunteers celebrated, with a party, the forty years of volunteer-led use of Langport Red Cross Centre, the modest building that is the hub around which revolves their many activities. The members volunteering in 2019 have a total of 514 years of active service, and at the party Chris Davies, Somerset President, awarded three long-service awards to Sally Tomsett (the oldest active volunteer at 85) for ten years' service, Sandra Stannard also for ten years and Jill Lock, the secretary, for 25 years.
In 1978 the building (formerly used for storage) was offered to the Langport Division of the Red Cross for £6000. Plans were drawn up to convert it into a Centre for Medical Loan and training at a cost of a further £2000. The local Health Authority contributed £2600 and Somerset HQ arranged a loan which was paid back by the fundraising efforts of the volunteers of the time over the next five years.
On 21st June 1979 Lady Luttrell opened the Centre which has been in active use ever since.
The Centre is located on the side of Langport's main car park.
Today the Centre is used as a Fund Raising Centre, it is open to the public six mornings a week providing a lifeline to many lonely elderly people from Langport and its surrounding villages, providing companionship, refreshments for a donation, and sell donated goods, raising £10,179 in 2018.
The fifteen volunteers who work at the Centre are supplemented by another twenty who help with collections at shops and Red Cross Week. With the profits from Theatre Trips to Bristol organised by the Group Leader, the total turnover to support the British Red Cross in 2018 was £21,029.
Since opening daily in 2001, the Fund Raising Centre has recorded a turnover of £313, 000.
There is also a team of six fully qualified first aiders who support events over a wide area.
Group Leader, Chris Cox, has received a Community Service awards from Somerset County Council, Langport Town Council, and Somerton Town Council.
Photos were taken by John Samuels.
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