Pensioner stepped in to save lunch club
A kind-hearted Cambuslang pensioner, who has served tea to our troops on tour in the Falkland Islands, has stepped in to rescue the Salvation Army’s lifeline lunch club whose members rely on it for a hot meal and a bit of company.
Back in June, the cook at the Salvation Army’s lunch club in King Street, Rutherglen, went off sick, leaving no-one to prepare the three-course meal that is served daily, Monday to Friday, to 100 local pensioners.
With many years of cooking for care home residents under her belt, Mary Boyd – who has devoted four decades to the Salvation Army – didn’t hesitate to dust down her apron and take charge in the church’s kitchen to ensure that piping hot meals were served as usual to appreciative diners.
Major Catherine Wyles explained that an advertisement for a temporary cook failed to attract any applicants.
Six months after saving the day by offering her services as a volunteer cook, Mary continues to arrive at the Salvation Army Church hall at 7.30am each weekday to prepare the day’s pot of homemade soup, main course and dessert, teas and coffees, and doesn’t leave until after 1.30pm when all the diners have been fed.
“Mary stepped in because she did not want to see the lunch club close and has done every day since,” explained Salvation Army officer Catherine.
“She is an absolute gem. She has worked for the Salvation Army all her life.”
As a volunteer, Mary travelled to the Falklands in 2009, 2010 and again in 2011, to serve tea to the soldiers stationed on the islands.
Asked what motivates her to continue serving as a volunteer cook, Mary said: “It is seeing them going home, knowing they have had a good meal and that they’ve had company here as well – some integration.
“I have been in charge of care homes and if the cook went off sick, I just stepped in to do whatever. So, catering was not any kind of hardship to me.”
Rutherglen mum-of-two, Michelle Wood, is so full of admiration for Mary that she nominated her to win a stunning bouquet from contemporary, luxury florist Stems of Burnside in the Reformer’s weekly Say it with Flowers competition.
“When I read about the competition, I thought about Mary right away,” said Michelle, 22, of Main Street, a volunteer with the Salvation Army’s toddlers’ group.
“She does an enormous amount of work for the Salvation Army.
“She is retired but still does all this out of the goodness of her heart. She deserves to be appreciated.”
We surprised Mary at the church just as she finished serving several tables of diners with a hearty lunch of Scotch broth, chicken casserole, a choice of rhubarb crumble and ice cream or clooty dumpling, and tea and coffee.
As Michelle presented a beautiful handtied bouquet of festive blooms, expertly created by Stems of Burnside’s talented florist Janet Freeman, diners in the hall burst into applause.
“I am absolutely stunned. The flowers are so beautiful,” said Mary, a native of Portsoy who made Drumsagard her home 10 years ago.
The show of appreciation is not Mary’s only cause for celebration this week.
Not only did she enjoy the festivities of Christmas with her many friends, she also celebrated her milestone 70th birthday on Sunday.
Blooming marvellous Army volunteers Bouquet winner Mary Boyd with Major Catherine Myles (left), Michelle Wood and fellow Salvation