Helen, 90 years young and still volunteering

Helen Hagan (90), who still volunteers in the children's ward.
Helen Hagan (90), who still volunteers in the children's ward.

Momentum is growing for the efforts of a Kirkcaldy grandmother to be recognised, as she continues to help sick children ... at the ripe old age of 90.

When nursery nurse Helen Hagan retired at 62, she quickly decided that she wanted to continue to be involved with children and so offered her services to the Children’s Unit at Kirkcaldy Hospital.

And for two days a week for nearly three decades she’s proved that volunteering is simply ‘child’s play’ as she brings a little sunshine and respite to both children and parents attending the unit.

“Play is so important for children, it’s a therapy yet for so long it was never acknowledged as such,” Helen told the Fife Free Press.

“I arrange play for children and help them feel comfortable while in the hospital.

“Sometimes the parents are more anxious than the children so it’s nice to be able to support them too.”

It’s fair to say, Helen’s surroundings are a little more salubrious than they were 28 years ago when she was out in a corridor.

“Things are certainly better these days, and a little less draughty,” she laughed.

Asked about what makes her connect so easily with children, the mother of three and grandmother to five said it was her ability to listen.

“They have a lot of say, you learn a lot about them by just listening, that’s very important,’’ she said.

Liz Nicol, NHS Fife’s volunteer manager was quick to praise Helen’s efforts, adding that she had become a “true asset” to the hospital

Helen is, however, perplexed by the growing calls on social media for a formal recognition in the Queen’s Honours List.

“That’s not for me, I don’t want that, I just want to continue being there for the children and will do so for as long as my health allows me,” she said.