Pen­sioner stepped in to save lunch club

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

NIKI TEN­NANT

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

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