Dalkeith-based Red Cross volunteer is a “lifeline” to many

Ashley Ainsley Hospital. Red Cross driver John Ward taking client Gus Hogg back to Midlothian in his wheelchair.
Ashley Ainsley Hospital. Red Cross driver John Ward taking client Gus Hogg back to Midlothian in his wheelchair.

A lifeline to many, British Red Cross worker John Ward is much more than a volunteer driver.

Based at the Red Cross office in Dalkeith, he forms part of a transport and escort service which caters for those who are disabled or terminally ill.

Up to five days a week, John (70), of Glennie Gardens, Tranent, escorts clients to a variety of appointments at destinations such as doctors, hospitals, hospices and dentists.

His van is rigged with a ramp and winch to accommodate wheelchair-bound clients. He uses an earpiece and high tech radio equipment to communicate with the Red Cross control centre. And yet it is John’s compassion and sense of humour which enable him to provide the most valuable gift of all – friendship.

He explains: “People who are terminally ill tell you all their troubles. Sadly, sometimes they cannot relate to family members and so they open up to us.

“You get to know people well and it can be difficult watching them go downhill. You miss them when they’re gone but the sad thing is that there are plenty of others waiting to take their place – there is a big demand.

Read full story in the April 26 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.