Bristol charity worker Ruth still working to help others . . . at 92
AT 92 Ruth Perkins might be expected to be taking life easy – but instead she is running a charity to help disadvantaged elderly people.
And when she is not helping out with lunch clubs and bingo for Self Help Enterprise (SHE7) she helps out with collections for other charities.
Ruth has been involved with the charity for 40 years, having first gone along on the advice of her GP.
Now she is the chairwoman of the Filton-based charity.
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Before her involvement she had been a cashier at the nearby Dolphin Swimming Pool and an assistant in a grocery shop in Filton Avenue.
Ruth – who has had three hip operations – started by running bingo at SHE7 and now also runs lunch clubs every week, sorting all the groceries and helping prepare the three-course meals for up to 40 people at a time.
"Broken marriages and partnerships all leave people struggling and lonely and that's where our lunch clubs step in," Ruth said.
"We always cook as much as we can and try our best to accommodate anyone who turns up on the day.
"There are so many people in difficult situations out there and they all need help."
The lunch clubs are funded by the revenue of SHE7 which operates a small charity shop.
When Ruth is not working at the charity she knits gloves, socks and tea cosies – all to raise the extra funds needed to pay for the services.
"The money is very tight and its going to be even more difficult this winter with food prices after the terrible summer," she said.
"I'm usually counting all the money up myself. We don't even have a calculator."
When she is not supporting SHE7 Ruth collects for motor neurone disease, Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care and St Peter's Hospice, often spending the whole day from 10am to 5pm looking for donations.
"I head down to the local supermarket with the collecting bucket and any other volunteers," she said.
"They have to give me a seat down there though as I can't stand for seven hours. Most of the other people don't last as long as me, but I love it.
"We collect hundreds on good days, but you can't force people to give. You just have to wait patiently and they usually come."
Ruth's hard work in the community has been rewarded in the past with three honours for services to the public.
One award saw her attend one of the Queen's garden parties.
After three hip operations, Ruth has found working for the charity more difficult.
She said: "Each one takes it out of you. I'm finding it very hard but I'll keep going.
"It's the people here that push me on. There must be 300 pairs of feet coming through the doors every week here and I can tell you they really appreciate it."