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100 years and Derbyshire Red Cross is still going strong

22 September 2009

Derbyshire Branch 100th anniversaryBRCThe British Red Cross in Derbyshire is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this month with a celebration at the Cavendish Institute on Wednesday 23 September attended by the Branch's patroness, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.

As one of the UK’s oldest groups of Red Cross volunteers, Derbyshire has helped many people in crisis over the years. With the threat of war on the horizon, the Derbyshire Red Cross was started in 1909 by Evelyn, Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House to offer nursing and first aid assistance to victims of conflict both at home and overseas.

Planning to care for wounded soldiers once they had returned home, the Red Cross volunteers created 37 convalescent homes, which were staffed by nurses, cooks and first aiders. Volunteers also manned ambulances, blood donor services and working parties knitted jumpers, blankets and socks that were sent to the front line as well as given to those in need at home.

Today Red Cross volunteers provide first aid training, care in the home, emergency response as well as youth education programmes. Having moved headquarters four times since the days of Chatsworth House, the Derbyshire Red Cross is now based in Matlock and supports over 300 volunteers working across the county on a variety of projects.

The Red Cross has a history of dedicated volunteers including Derby resident Patricia Marjoram who has been a volunteer for 42 years and is the author of ‘Our Great Endeavour’, a book about the history of the Derbyshire Red Cross.

Catherine Stuart-Jervis, operations director for Derbyshire, said: “The centenary is an amazing achievement for the Red Cross in Derbyshire touching the lives of so many people over the last 100 years in the community. This is a fantastic opportunity to honour all the volunteers over the years who have made a difference to people’s lives while we look forward to the next 100 years.”

To buy a copy of Our Great Endeavour by Patricia Marjoram, contact the Red Cross on 01629 582 171. For further information contact Ann Lavelle 01629 593325 or