Red Cross parcels recalled with special Liberation hamper delivery to care homes

TODAY the clocks are being turned back and Red Cross-style hampers are being delivered to all States care home residents.

Two postal workers have the important job of delivering the hampers, which include scones, Guernsey butter, cream and jam.

The hampers are a gift from the States, sponsored by Guernsey Post.

They are a modern, luxury version of Red Cross parcels, which during the war would usually consist of items like condensed milk, a tin of dried eggs, tinned sardines, a bar of soap and a tin of cigarettes or tobacco.

The contents of the 2021 version of the Red Cross parcel

In a test run, residents at St John’s Residential Home in Saumarez Park sampled a hamper in the build up to Liberation Day.

Rosemary Mace, 86, was evacuated on the last boat out of Guernsey.

‘I can remember being on the boat and in an enormous life jacket and then we landed up in Stockport Town Hall as refugees.

‘We walked along in a long crocodile and everyone was coming out of their doors, like in Coronation Street, to see us.

‘I understand the Red Cross parcels were a lifeline, after the war my relatives talked about the Red Cross parcels and the Red Cross letters as well.

‘Five years was a long time away, I remember my mother saying that people left their homes often with just one suitcase and never thought it was going to last five years.’

Diana Mauger, 96, was also evacuated to Stockport as a teenager, but heard later about the lack of food during the Occupation.

‘I wasn’t here during the war, but I’ve heard all about the parcels.

The 2021 parcels have been made to look like the Occupation ones.

‘Me and my mother and sister were evacuated to Stockport, and my dad stayed here and carried on, it was so nice when we got back.’

Doreen Ozanne, 102, was based in the south of England in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, which was the women’s branch of the Army.

She said her in-laws had told her about the morale-boosting Red Cross parcels.

‘My relations had the Red Cross parcels and my sister-in-law kept one because she wanted to show me what they used to have, she liked them a lot.’

Today’s gesture of kindness to elderly residents has been made possible through the cooperation of the States, Guernsey Post, the Dairy, and the Guernsey Hamper Company.

Dawn Gallienne, from Guernsey Post, said the aim was to put smiles on faces on such a poignant day.

‘We really just want to do something nice for the residents in the care homes to help them celebrate the Liberation Day, and hearing just now some of their stories about when they were evacuees, it’s nice to be able to give something back to them.’

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