YOU’RE never too old to help out in your local community - just ask vital volunteer Violet Caban.
The evergreen 82-year-old Grangemouth woman has just been awarded this year’s Jimmy Murphy Memorial Trophy for her important role assisting elderly people to and from lunches at the town’s Talbot House facililty over the last two decades.
Violet, of Newbiggin Road, said: “I received the award at Christ the King Church last month, but I was surprised to hear I had even been nominated. I really enjoy doing this – it’s not really a hard job.
“If it wasn’t for volunteers then a lot of elderly or disabled people would not be able to get out of their house to socialise.”
The award, now proudly displayed in Violet’s living room, is named after the late Jimmy Murphy, a Grangemouth man who went out of his way to help people throughout his life.
Every year it is presented to someone who goes that extra mile, giving up their time to make people’s lives better – something Violet has been doing since the mid-1980s.
Violet was happily married to Polish joiner Stefan for 30 years, raising two sons and daughter and working as a cook in various chip shops throughout the area, dishing up some hunger-bashing treats that were hard to beat.
Stefan sadly died in 1984 and a new chapter of Violet’s life began in 1987 when she was asked if she would like to help out at the newly opened Talbot House.
“I asked them what the job entailed and then said I’d give it a try. I’ve been doing it ever since. It was just taking people from their homes and getting them to Talbot House safely.
“Now I’m officially called a passenger assistance volunteer, but back then I was just helping out.”
Violet continues to help a dozen people, some of whom are actually younger than her, get to Talbot House each week and takes care of them when they are there.
She said: “Anything they need we are there to do it for them.
‘‘We take them on trips too. We only really go as far as the Falkirk Wheel now, but in the past we used to take people all over the place.”
Violet, who has four grandchildren, believes volunteering helps her just as much as it does the people she regularly assists.
“When my family got married and moved away it got me out of the house,” she said.
The Talbot House gang will be seeing Violet’s friendly face for a few years yet as the award-winning passenger assistant has no plans to stop volunteering any time soon.
“I hope to do this for a wee while longer,’’ she said. ‘‘It certainly keeps me young and fit.’’