Volunteers raise a glass to 25 years of friendship

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Volunteers at Mearns Kirk celebrated 25 years of friendship by raising at toast at Caulders Garden Centre this week.

The Mearns Kirk Friendship Group has been meeting for 25 years, with 40-60 East Ren residents regularly attending for afternoon tea, bring and buy sales and entertainment provided by choirs, local groups or well-kent performers.

Mearns Kirk’s Ann Richardson told The Extra: “Residents from Abbeyfield, Westacres, Wellmeadow and the Retail Trust are brought from Newton Mearns along with Eastwoodhill residents from Giffnock and Hall House from Fenwick.

“Everyone is welcome and there is a wonderful atmosphere in the group — it is full of love and enthusiasm.

“Our volunteers are a great bunch and very committed to what they do. Led by Elizabeth Harris, who brings everything together, they set out the hall and prepare the tea, coffee and home baking and then serve the guests, clear away and keep the conversation going. They offer their help and friendship to all who come through the doors.”

All that hard work was rewarded on Tuesday with 15 volunteers invited to afternoon tea with reverend Joe Kavanagh — where some of the longest-serving members were greeted by East Renfrewshire provost Alastair Carmichael with a bunch of flowers to say thank you.

The six stalwarts included Evelyn Humes, Betty Hall and Elspeth McDougal, who have been with the club for 24 years, Pat Goodwin and Isabelle Dyer, who first volunteered 23 years ago and Maureen Andrews, involved for 20 years.

Ann added: “We were delighted that the provost took the time to come and celebrate this very special occasion.

“Volunteers give without a thought of gaining anything in return - to help make things better for those who need it most.

“It is great to be able to celebrate the work of the group and to say a big thank you to everyone involved.”