In a huge milestone for a dedicated group of local volunteers, the Whyalla Red Cross Membership Branch marked 100 years at a ceremony on Tuesday.
The rich history of the group was on display for all to see, dating back to 1942 when members of the branch would farewell soldiers heading off to war with money and parcels.
Reflecting back on the years past, Branch President Irene Matthews commended the efforts of early member Jean Walker who would make pasties with fellow Red Cross members and sell them in a shop in Forsyth Street.
“These early members were instrumental in bringing the blood bank to the Whyalla Hospital in 1967,” she said.
The bank is still operational today, functioning as a mobile service which comes to Whyalla three to four times a year.
The Red Cross provides a variety of other local services, including medical loans, a library service, cosmetic care, telephone (Telecross) services, a Red Cross shop, and emergency disaster services.
“Over the years the Whyalla Red Cross has made donations to various organisations around Whyalla and to fire victims who have been affected by local fires,” Ms Matthews said.
“We have members who have collected funds in their own area for 20-odd years.”
Some of those members were recognised with awards on the day including volunteers Bev Lux Clare McNamara and Sylvia Nelson.
Red Cross Eyre Peninsula Regional Manager Kerry Schubert said the Red Cross helped alleviate the social isolation of elderly members of the community.
“It gets people out of their homes and back into the community,” she said.
“Even just taking them out for coffee with a volunteer once a week means they have something to look forward to every week.”