Senior with a Heart of Gold Shows That Giving Back is Forever

For this 100-year-old volunteer, age is just a number!

Feb 7, 2022
Special Collections: INSPIRE THE GOOD
Senior with a Heart of Gold Shows That Giving Back is Forever | For this 100-year-old volunteer, age is just a number!

It would be hard to find a more modest and down-to-earth ambassador for volunteering than Beryl Carr. This grandma has been helping out at the Friends Café in Ealing Hospital, London, where she still works,  for the last 18 years. And she has just celebrated her 100th birthday, an age when people are more likely to get help than still be helping others! 

Not Mrs Carr though. As she explains in our video, “I can’t believe that I’ve reached this age. Obviously  I don’t feel a hundred… I’m not ready to put my feet up yet!”

Altruism is good for you!
Mrs. Carr gets that being kind to others nurtures the giver too! As she explained to the website of the National Health Service (NHS) for London North West: “The great thing about volunteering is that you are helping other people but in a funny way you are helping yourself as well.”

What drew her to volunteering?
Mrs. Carr is open about the fact that for her, volunteering was a way of coping with her grief and loneliness after she lost her husband nearly 20 years ago. She had moved back to the UK capital to be near her daughter, as reported in My London News, and was at a loss as to what to do with herself, having left her cherished bungalow in the countryside to live in a boxy one-bedroom apartment. Volunteering, she says, was her daughter’s idea, and it became her lifeline.

“I started volunteering here when I moved down to London when my husband died and I didn’t know anybody or anything.” Beryl explains to the BBC in our video.

“I came for the interview, said I would do whatever they needed, and I have been here ever since,” she says. “I would recommend it to anyone.”

Community spirit
This endearing volunteer enjoys the cafe’s social atmosphere, describing it as “a lovely community.” She looks forward to what she describes as the friendship and the camaraderie, and delights in helping others.

She has spent most of these years assisting as a cashier, although she has sometimes helped out with making tea and sandwiches and other necessary tasks.

For Mrs. Carr, who still lives independently, shielding at home during the height of the pandemic felt like a wrench from the friendly hub she so looks forward to coming to. “I missed it terribly,” she confesses. 

And the love is mutual! Friends Café Manager, Ann Cousins, explains “It’s like having a bit of royalty because everybody comes and sees Beryl when she’s here. They make a special point of saying hello and making a fuss of her."

Consultant neurologist, Pooja Dassan is clearly a fan too, telling the BBC that “Beryl is always here, when we come at lunch for a cup of coffee there with her smile, and pre Covid, often a hug as well, I think she’s a complete inspiration!” 

As Mrs. Carr shares: “Volunteering gave me a new lease on life and it is something I would recommend to anyone regardless of their age.”

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Good Deeds Day, an annual global day of doing good, is the pinnacle of doing good year-round. Initiated in 2007 by business woman and philanthropist Shari Arison, Good Deeds Day has grown to 108 countries with millions of participants.  Good Deeds Day 2022 is on April 3.

Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.
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