Chefs help Finsbury and Clerkenwell Volunteers mark anniversary

Recruits from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant helped a charity which supports elderly and vulnerable people celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Four young chefs, overseen by Steve McGowan – the sous chef at the restaurant – presented a three-course Italian lunch to the 90 guests who attended the Finsbury and Clerkenwell Volunteers milestone birthday lunch at the Vibast Community Centre in Old Street, Finsbury, on November 24.

Guests included Mayor of Islington, Cllr Phil Kelly, and representatives from a number of charitable and corporate supporters, alongside the charity’s volunteers and a large contingent of the elderly clients they help.

Betty Cardock, 94, gave an emotional tribute to the volunteers who have provided unwavering support for her in a number of ways since being introduced to the charity by her sister over 20 years ago.

She said: “I cannot praise or thank enough the work that the volunteers do for all of us. They have been there for me in even the darkest times when my sister was unwell and there with all their support when I held her hand for the last time. They provide a vital service to all of us and without them we would be truly lost.”

Chairman Andrew Thompson thanked all the volunteers for their hundreds of hours of work over the years, as well as the council for its support over the past four decades which has now come to an end in the face of austerity measures.

As reported by the Gazette last month, the charity needs support from corporate sponsors if it is to survive and continues to appeal for help.

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n For more information about the charity, contact details and information on volunteering, visit