Branch to mark 80 productive years

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Former broadcaster John Gordon will be the guest speaker at the Gore Red Cross 80th birthday celebration.

The celebration will be held in conjunction with the group’s annual meeting at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church lounge on August 21 at 10.30am.

Miller said Mr Gordon was chosen to speak because he had worked overseas on Red Cross projects.

“We’re really looking forward to hearing him speak,” Mrs Miller said.

“He’s really interesting and easy to listen to.”

The branch started in 1940 and one of its main activities was to support New Zealand troops during World War 2.

“They baked fruit cakes and, wash our mouths out today, but they sent cigarettes [and] knitted socks,” Mrs Miller said.

The fruit cakes were put in tins and taken to the blacksmith, who soldered them shut to keep the cakes safe.

By 1984 the group was taking part in many activities, including catering for the annual Gore bull sale, calling door to door for the annual appeal, hospital visiting, and organising senior citizens’ Christmas parties and second-hand clothing sales.

“At Christmas they had a Christmas distribution of oranges, bananas and biscuits to the hospital patients.”

One entry in a minutes book from the era read “a satisfactory sum of $360 was raised” from one of the clothing sales.

Nowadays, the group was not as active as in 1984.

Members sold roses on the annual appeal day to raise money and delivered Meals on Wheels.

The group also helped with the organisation’s refugee resettlement in Invercargill.

“We have committed to supply new pillows and pots and pans for each family as they come.”

Members were also available to support people going to hospital appointments in Dunedin or Invercargill on the Red Cross shuttle.

The branch would welcome new members, she said.