We are always keen to find interesting and inspiring activities to take part in and this project certainly ticked that box! Staff and service users alike from our enhanced day service Charnley Fold in Bamber Bridge were delighted to have the opportunity to become involved and work with Dig In North West CIC to create a magnificent display for the Royal Horticultural Society's annual flower show at Tatton Park.
It was the second year at Tatton for Dig In North West CIC to exhibit at the show but this year they invited Age Concern alongside young people from Lea Community School and Ashton High School to join them. The display theme remembered the Preston Railway Station free buffet which was available to support our armed forces during the Great War.
Throughout June and July groups of staff and service users from Charnley Fold visited Lea Community School and Ashton Park to create the willow figures that represented the female volunteers who provided the buffets. Like a flower in springtime everyone was positively bursting with pride when they visited the RHS flower show at Tatton Park to see the finished display in all its glory. Whilst the display received a commendation from the judges moreover its impact was a celebration of volunteering, history, positivity and people coming together across the generations.
It was truly a pleasure for Age Concern to be involved in such a fitting tribute to the ladies of Preston who no doubt boosted the morale and spirits of our armed forces whilst providing refreshments to those who passed through Preston Station and enjoyed a short stop on a long journey. On their first day in 1915 the ladies served 386 men but throughout 1917 the daily average was 3,250 men and when the buffet closed its doors in 1919 it was estimated that in total some 3.5 million soldiers and sailors had been served. No doubt these small acts of kindness went a long way for a soldier far from home and helped our great nation to keep pressing ahead.