The Women’s Royal Voluntary Service was always pleased to recognise and reward the long and loyal service of its members.

The Oxford Mail was happy to record their efforts in looking after the elderly and vulnerable in our communities.

When Olive Wells, right in Picture 1, joined the organisation in 1940, little did she realise that 47 years later, she would still be helping out.

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Mrs Wells, then 62, of Headley Way, Headington, Oxford, was awarded one of the service’s top honours – a clasp for her already-presented long service medal.

She is seen receiving the clasp in 1987 from Gloria Simms, WVRS organiser for Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

In Picture 2, we see Alice Elliott receiving her long-service award after devoting 36 years to the WRVS meals-on-wheels service. Area food service manager Lynn Bayliss made the award in the presence of the mayor of Wallingford, Alec Hayton, in 1999.

Oxford Mail: The Wallingford magazine Mrs Elliott is holding recorded the town’s first meals-on-wheels delivery in 1964, while the other picture shows her receiving meat from butcher Ken Lester.

More long-service awards were presented in 1983 to those who had completed 15 years in Picture 3 – left to right, Nan Fowler, Betty McArthur and Pamela Boundy.

Mrs Boundy, of Feilden Close, Ducklington, was the WRVS organiser in West Oxfordshire and meals-on-wheels organiser for her home village.

Mrs McArthur, of Moors Close, Ducklington, was WRVS district secretary, while Mrs Fowler, of Fox Close, Hailey, had joined as a driver and had become treasurer.

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When long-service medals were handed out at Abingdon, it wasn’t only women who received them. In Picture 4, Robert Woodford, of Radley Road, Abingdon, was among the group.

He was one of three men who helped run meals-on-wheels and organise a social club for pensioners. More 15-year long-service recipients are seen in Picture 5 after receiving their awards from county organiser Gloria Simms, centre, in 1987. In Picture 6, we see Wantage mayor Jenny Hannaby helping Carole Start, left, and Joan Borras to deliver meals in the town in 1999.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.