June 19 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Irene Thompson, 80, founded the Barking Flower Arrangement Club in 1964, has been chair of the Parkside Stroke club for 17 years and is also vice chair and vice president of Friends of Barking Hospital. She lives Sheppey Road, Dagenham
I was born in 1931 and moved from Mile End to Stamford Road, Dagenham when I was five. We spent a few years there before moving to Sheppey Road where I live now.
I went to Cambell School until I was 14. For a few years I worked at Barking Library, then in insurance in the city until I had my first son.
In 1964 flower arranging was the height of fashion but there weren’t any groups in Barking. So a lady called Mrs Lynch and myself decided to start our own, which we called the Barking Flower Arrangement Club.
We started with around 18 members and over the years the group grew. We still meet now, at Eastbury Manor House. We make all kinds of arrangements for different occasions.
We arranged the flowers for when Princess Alexandra came to open Barking Hospital. I remember we put some flowers in a toilet which had been specially reserved just for her.
In 1987 I had a stroke. The Stroke Association told me about Parkside Stroke Club, in Goodmayes Lane, Ilford, of which I’m now the chairperson. The club is for anyone who has suffered a stroke, minor or major.
We do different exercises with the members and sometimes organise days out and for speakers to come in.
We try and offer those that come a friendly, cheerful and relaxed environment – many of them are on their own and coming to the club can make a real difference to their lives.
I’ve also been very involved in Friends of Barking Hospital since 1967. I’m currently vice chair and vice president there.
My weeks are pretty busy, but volunteering is something I enjoy a lot. I get to meet so many lovely people and I feel that if you can help others in some way you why not do it.
I think anyone with a bit of free time should think about becoming a volunteer this year – why not make it a New Year’s resolution?
I’m 80 now, but I certainly don’t feel like 80, so I have no plans to stop volunteering. I enjoy it too much.
One of the victims of a vicious pub attack in Rainham that saw three men punched, kicked and stamped on says he only remembers waking up in a pool of blood.
Hundreds are expected to attend an annual exhibition promoting some of east London’s top businesses.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson lists Barking’s Riverside development as a critical area for economic growth in his vision for the capital’s future.
In November 1956 Mr Munn, chief public relations officer of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, walked into the office of the Barking Advertiser, where I was a reporter.