Caring Kay Pinfold is still going strong as Britain’s oldest charity volunteer – lending a helping hand AGED 97.
The former PE teacher began volunteering for Age UK two decades ago after the death of husband Leslie and also took on work with the NHS and a nursing home.
Almost 20 years on she just works for Age UK – driving herself out at least three days a week to visit and help lonely housebound elderly people.
She also helps out her neighbours in Clitheroe, Lancs. – feeding their cats and picking fruit for them if they are away.
Kay said: “When I began working for Age UK they had started a befriending service and I’ve been with them ever since.”
“It started off with one person I was visiting and then I got asked to visit two more and it grew and grew from there.”
“I visit people who are housebound and I natter to them and help them to go through their post if need it but I don’t put the hoover on or anything like that.”
“The NHS got in touch a few years ago with Age UK and asked for volunteers to go around the pubs handing out beer mats that had cancer awareness adverts on them.”
“As my husband worked in the pub trade I didn’t mind doing that.”
“I also was helping out in a nursing home on Sunday morning until about five years ago and I occasionally go back there for open days and things like that.”
“I help all my neighbours too and I will go in an feed the cats and pick fruit for them if they are away. We are all very caring of each other.”
Kay, who was married to Whitbread director Leslie for 48 years, usually makes her visits Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.”
But six weeks ago she broke her arm and is struggling at the moment to do her rounds.
She said: “I still see a lady down the road and that takes me about 20 minutes to walk, but if it wasn’t for my broken arm I would still be driving.”
“I won’t drive on the motorway but I will drive on the A57 to Skipton, although I tend to get the bus there because it doesn’t cost me anything to park.”
Mother-of-one Kay, who was born in October 1918 – a month before World War I ended – added: “I just think you as old as you feel.
“I had to spend three nights in hospital after I broke my arm and people kept coming up to me and asking me my date of birth.”
“When I told them they asked ‘are you sure?’ and I replied ‘Yes. I’m quite sure.”
“The only thing I’m upset about is that I can’t get out in the garden because of this blasted arm.”
Kay says her sprightly nature also helped her overcome breaking both legs when she was knocked down by a car at the age of 73.
She said: “People said I will never walk again but I said ‘I jolly well will.”
“People ask ‘why are you like you are at that age?’ and I say it’s because I won’t give in.”
“People ask me how I do it and I just tell them I keep moving and keep going. Nothing will beat me.”
Kay said possibly being Britain’s oldest volunteer was “quite a big achievement” but said volunteering was a great way for retired people to use their time.
She said: “It’s quite a big achievement but there must be other people doing voluntary work that people don’t know anything about.”
“I don’t know why more retired people don’t do volunteering. It is better than sitting on your hands and wasting time.”
Kay was recently invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her volunteering efforts – and attended despite being in plaster.
She said her cast made her stand out from the crowd and gain the attention of Princess Alexandra.
She said: “She told me she had broken her leg some years ago so she knew how painful it was. So if I hadn’t broken my arm she would probably not have noticed me.”