A Leamington great grandmother is possibly the oldest charity shop volunteer in the country.
Even on her 97th birthday, Audrey Gerrans was behind the till at Save the Children in Regent Street where she’s worked for more than 12 years.
Other volunteers decorated the shop with birthday balloons and banners and Audrey thanked them by taking them out to lunch to celebrate her big day.
The nonagenarian has been volunteering for charities since moving to Leamington in 1998. She helped at the Arthritis Research shop in the town until it closed, then joined the Friends of Warwick Hospital for 10 years, working one afternoon a week in the charity shop and tin collecting.
Now Audrey volunteers on Thursday afternoons at Save the Children. And even when her shift coincided with her birthday, she didn’t take the day off.
“Working on the till keeps my brain ticking and it’s just lovely chatting to our customers,” says Audrey who was born in 1923 and grew up in Kent. “My body may be feeling a bit tired these days but my mind is still pretty good. I’ve still got all my marbles, as we say!”
Audrey was a medical library assistant at Frenchay hospital in Bristol and after her retirement stayed on to work there as a volunteer. Following the death of her husband Joe in 1997, she settled in Leamington to be near children and grandchildren.
“I’m happy to carry on volunteering at the shop because we are short staffed,” she says. “Not so many people have time to do charity work these days, but if we get some more volunteers to join us for three or four hours a week, I may be able to think about retiring!”