Rutherglen Volunteering Hero Celebrates 29 Years with Health Charity 17 January 2024 Delia O’Reilly, 79, lives in Rutherglen and has been volunteering with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland for 29 years, spending 27 of those working with Lynne Boal, the charity’s Community Services Coordinator for Lanarkshire. They say some people are a match made in heaven. For Delia O’Reilly, her heavenly match isn’t a person but an organisation – Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. Delia has been volunteering with the charity for a remarkable 29 years and looking forward to many more. The 79-year-old – sprightly and fun with her magenta hair and spiky humour – has fulfilled a number of volunteering roles with CHSS, including one-to-one support, fundraising, communication support, walking and exercise groups. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland saved my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d have been if I hadn’t found you. With her every step of the way – for 27 of those 29 years – has been Lynne Boal, the charity’s Lanarkshire Community Services Coordinator. So, it was fitting that it was Lynne who helped to mark Delia’s incredible volunteer stint by presenting her with a certificate on behalf of CHSS and a glorious bouquet of flowers as Delia joined with members of the Community Services Group in Charlotte Toal Centre in Coatbridge in December. Delia has been volunteering with CHSS for 29 years, spending 27 of those working with Lynne Boal, the charity’s Community Services Coordinator for Lanarkshire. There were cheers and hugs from those Delia has helped to support as she told them: “Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland saved my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d have been if I hadn’t found you. “You have no idea what you all mean to me. Thank you for letting me be part of something so special.” I love being with people and feeling that I am doing something positive. I’ve made so many friends and had such good times over the years. It never feels like a chore but always a pleasure. Born in the east end of Glasgow, Delia trained as a machinist in the garment trade. In the late 1960s, she moved to London with her then-husband and two children where she stayed for the next 20 years. When that marriage ended, Delia decided to return to Scotland with son Stephen staying in London and daughter Samantha moving to the south coast. Stephen still lives in London, but Samantha has joined her mum back in Scotland. On her return to Glasgow, Delia bumped into her first love, Vincent O’Reilly, whom she’d first met at 16 in the famous Barrowlands dance hall. The pair rekindled their romance and eventually married before Vincent’s untimely death 15 years ago. It was when Vincent first fell ill that Delia ventured into the world of volunteering more than 30 years ago, helping out in a shop, as a driver for Meals on Wheels and with a Down’s Syndrome group. But she found her true calling when she came across Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland 29 years ago. Delia’s first role was at a communication support group for stroke survivors in Riddrie, Glasgow, and then – two years later when Lynne joined – she had found a colleague and a best friend. The pair have worked in tandem ever since. Delia said: “My husband Vincent had fallen ill and eventually he needed to go into a care home. I was visiting twice a day, but I needed to do something else to keep myself occupied. “I’d done a bit of volunteering before, but nothing really grabbed me until I was introduced to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. Everything clicked when I went to that first meeting. “I love being with people and feeling that I am doing something positive. I’ve made so many friends and had such good times over the years. It never feels like a chore but always a pleasure. “Lynne has been so wonderful to work with. We’ve become such good friends, and she’s seen me through some tough times. I only wish I had another 29 years to give.” Lynne echoes Delia’s appreciation, saying: “Delia is dynamic, dependable and delightful. She’s a force of nature who will be a hard act for anyone to follow.” Liz Wigelsworth, head of volunteering at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland said: “We are so incredibly grateful to Delia for her years of volunteering with CHSS. Volunteers are at the heart of our organisation, allowing us to support the 1 in 5 people who are living with chest, heart and stroke conditions across the country. “We simply couldn’t deliver the services we do without the support of people like Deila. We hope her story inspires others to consider volunteering opportunities with us.” Find out more about our volunteering opportunities and give the gift of your time!