THE Women’s Royal Voluntary Service had helped millions of people the world in time of disaster or war since its creation in 1938, reported The Mail in 2002.

‘From assisting victims and their families at the Lockerbie and Kegworth air crashes to providing refreshment in hospitals and prisons across the country, the organisation is one of Great Britain’s great institutions,’ it stated.

In Furness an army of volunteers gave their time selflessly to the public and several had been given the recognition they deserved at a recent awards ceremony.

To receive their long service medals the women had to carry out 40 tasks a year for the WRVS over a 15-year period.

One dedicated member was 80-year-old Freda Cooksey, whose mother was the founder member of the WRVS in Barrow.

She said: “As a young child I clearly remember going along with my mother to an infant school with milk bottle tops during the war while she did voluntary work.

It seemed natural to me to follow in her footsteps and I have been in the service for 20 years and have loved every minute of it.”

Throughout that time the former Vickers bookkeeper had carried out volunteer work at the old Roose Hospital and Furness General.

She said: “It is definitely something I would encourage others to do as it is so satisfying to be helping others.”

Fellow volunteer and former nurse Mary Jackson, 66 of Barrow, began working for WRVS in 1986.

She said: "It is all about helping people and the satisfaction you get from that.

"We are always on the look out for volunteers and I would recommend the WRVS to anyone interested in voluntary work, young or old."

Atheina Carrick, 77, had been working for the organisation for 17 years.

She said: "I get a lot of pleasure from helping people in the hospital and it was something that got me out of the house.

"It is just such a good feeling to know I am doing some good for others."