On Saturday 20th April (11.00am) St John's Seven Kings will hold a Service of Rejoicing and Thanksgiving for the life of Dorothy Hart. Dorothy, who had recently celebrated her 90th birthday, died on 8th April 2013.
In her late 40s, while she was herself recovering from cancer, she met the Rev. Peter Hudson and became involved with the creation of Redbridge Community Care, now known as Redbridge Voluntary Care.
Redbridge Voluntary Care was established 40 years ago to provide a ‘good neighbour’ service helping residents when they have no one else to turn to. A broad range of help is available through Redbridge Voluntary Care including transport to hospital, clinics, etc, emergency shopping, light help in the home and visiting those who are housebound. Volunteers are on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to make sure there is always someone on the phone who can help if necessary. This can also include collecting prescriptions, shopping, visiting lonely residents and providing transport. Once a year, they also take 100 elderly house-bound residents on a drive through the Essex countryside.
In 2011 the organisation was presented with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of outstanding voluntary contributions judged to be of the highest standard. Dorothy, as Vice President of Redbridge Voluntary Care, attended Award ceremonies at Buckingham Palace and James Hawkey Hall. When she accepted the Award on behalf of the organisation Dorothy said, “We are very touched to receive this award. Over the years we’ve worked with some unbelievably kind volunteers who go to great lengths to help people in their time of need. If more people came along to volunteer as result of this it would be wonderful.”
Dorothy was also a long-term member of St John's Seven Kings. She became a Sunday School teacher at the age of 17 and was a member of the Mothers' Union branch, volunteering in the Contact Centre which the branch has run for more that 20 years. She taught in the borough and her two children were involved in Redbridge Music School and Youth Orchestra, going on to become, respectively, a professional composer and musician and a music therapist pioneering music therapy in France.
Music will feature significantly in the service, as Dorothy's home was always filled with music while her children were growing up. The Service will include performances by Dorothy's children and grandchildren of: Etoile Radieuse du Matin; Berceuse from The Dolly Suite by Gabriel Fauré; Roses Are Blooming In Picardy; Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy; and Sweet Georgia Brown.
In sharing the eulogy prepared by the family, I will say, "As anyone who knew Dorothy can testify, she offered up her love to every person with whom she crossed paths, somehow managing to make each and every one of them feel special. She was the archetype of a good neighbour. No matter what their creed, colour, age or background, she made a point of letting others know she was there if they needed her. Her example, in turn, inspired goodness in others. If everyone in the world could take just one leaf out of her book, the world would truly be a better place."
During the service I will also be saying that the "most fitting tribute to her memory is to be inspired to follow in her footsteps by living Christ-like lives ourselves whether by volunteering with Redbridge Voluntary Care – and she particularly wanted this service to encourage new recruits – or in some other way of our own choosing."
Anyone interested in volunteering for Redbridge Voluntary Care Service or wanting to request their help, can call 020 8514 0980.
Paul Hart - Cartoon.