Help Scheme is top, says founder

OTTERY and District Help Scheme is the “best thing since sliced bead” says one of its founders.

Jeremy Bradshaw-Smith, who practised at the Coleridge Medical Centre, where the Help Scheme is based, for 30 years before retiring in 1996, appointed its co-ordinator Pat Lane back in 1994.

He said: “We knew that the hospital car service was going for a ball of chalk, and there were older people in the community whose gardens were going to wrack and ruin, or who needed shopping or some company, so a committee was formed and we set advertising and got Pat.

“Choosing Pat was the best decision we could’ve made, she has such a nice touch with the volunteers.”

Dr Bradshaw-Smith is now a volunteer driver for the scheme and supports any fundraisers it runs.

He urged people to give any help they could. “It’s the best thing since sliced bread. All human beings are interesting and often amusing and helping out gives you an extra dimension.

“The number of volunteers is encouraging. Most of us are retired, because when you’re younger it’s harder to find the time to volunteer as your priority has to be paid employment. It’s rewarding if you do have the time, you feel useful.”

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There is no pressure regarding how often you volunteer, and if something comes up that means you can’t help when you’ve said you would, it’s understood.

Dr Bradshaw-Smith said: “Nobody’s going to criticise you. Pat’s got the touch that you aren’t made to feel guilty.”

For more information about the Help Scheme call (01404) 816700 or email