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Lifetime of fund-raising for Stafford Save the Children volunteer

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: June 22, 2014


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NAME: Audrey Betteridge AGE: 85 HOME: Stafford FAMILY: Two daughters, two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren OCCUPATION: Save the Children volunteer and former regional representative WHERE WERE YOU BORN? I was born in Great Haywood, one of six children. WHAT WAS YOUR UPBRINGING LIKE? It was lovely. Living in a village we had lots of freedom, which children just don’t have now. We moved to Stafford to a small holding in Doxey when I was in my last year of primary school and I went to St Leonard’s School, then Riverway Girls’ School and Rodbaston College. TELL US A CHILDHOOD MEMORY. I remember when I first started school in Great Haywood we used to have to put our heads on the tables in the afternoon to go to sleep as it was nap time. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU LEFT SCHOOL? I wanted to work with children but my dad wouldn’t have it. Instead I worked on the small holding. HOW DID THINGS PROGRESS? The Second World War broke out and I was in the Land Army. I was based in Harrogate and we did all sorts of farm work, it was really hard work too. Later on I had a letter from the Queen thanking me. I met my husband Gordon, who was in the Royal Navy, and we got married and eventually had two daughters Susan and Sarah. HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH GIRL GUIDING? I was a brownie and guide as a girl, then eventually became a helper and a guider. I ended up being division commissioner and really enjoyed it. Guiding was a big part of my life and very rewarding. I had a wonderful time and a lot of laughs. Even now I see people who were brownies and guides years ago and are now grandparents themselves. WHAT PROMPTED YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH SAVE THE CHILDREN? In the 1960s I saw an advert asking for people interested in helping children to set up a Save the Children branch. I went to the meeting and we set up a Stafford fund and had so many helpers. The first shop I set up was in Lichfield Road and it was such a pokey little place. I asked Lord Lichfield to open it and he did. When we moved into Crabbery Street he also opened that shop. We had some fun in that shop. I got the till from a place in Stone and my sister and I had to bring it back to Stafford on a bus. It was like the one from Open All Hours. We must have looked such a site. But I had so many friends volunteering and we raised a lot of money over the years. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT? I am so lucky. Being involved with Save the Children and guiding has been wonderful. I was invited to Buckingham Palace through my work with the charity and met Princess Anne in my capacity as area representative for Save the Children. I am proud that the shop is still going in Crabbery Street and has just celebrated its 25th anniversary. I am still very much involved and work there every other Monday morning. CAR: Volkswagon HOBBIES: Reading, gardening and watching football. MUSIC: Beethoven HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Greece NEWSPAPER: Daily Mail FOOD & DRINK: Steak & red wine BOOK: Anything by Georgette Heyer, also Joanna Trollope and Jill Mansell PIN-UP: My husband Gordon LOVE/HATE: I love most people/Unkind people

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