100-year-old Doris proves volunteering knows no age limit

On her 100th birthday, Edinburgh volunteer Doris Keir shows no signs of slowing down.

Doris Keir 100 year old volunteer
Doris Keir 100 year old volunteer

At a special birthday party thrown by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, featuring an afternoon of tea, cake and gifts in the City Chambers, Doris revealed the secret to a long life is staying active, getting out and about and drinking six glasses of water a day.

Attended by her daughter, son and daughter-in-law, the get-together was a chance for the Lord Provost to show the city’s thanks for the many years Doris has dedicated helping others. The centenarian and ex-Council worker from Edinburgh still actively volunteers at the Northfield and Willowbrae Community Services Group every Monday, where she pours the tea, hands out biscuits, collects donations and offers support to people suffering from dementia and memory loss.

Doris, who still lives independently, said: "It was a very special day. It was lovely to visit the Lord Provost and see the City Chambers, which I've never been to before. I've been a volunteer for 35 years and I've enjoyed it. When I retired, I thought I have to do something with myself. It has been worth it and if I wasn't volunteering, I'd be sitting at home and that would be boring! I like seeing everyone from the service centre every week, and if anyone is off unwell I like to ring them up and make sure they are okay. I've been volunteering so long now, I might as well keep going until I drop."

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank Ross said: “In my role as the city’s Volunteer Champion, again and again I see how important volunteering is to the social fabric of this city. Edinburgh is a very friendly place to live and there are countless citizens who do so much for their communities, but rarely – if ever - do I come across someone who continues to get out and about to volunteer at 100 years old!

“Doris is an inspiration to us all and a formidable champion for those suffering from dementia and memory loss in her community. It is people like her who actively make the city a better place to live, and help to inspire more Edinburgh citizens to start volunteering for the benefit of others. I am so pleased to be able to show the city’s appreciation and pride in her many years volunteering, particularly on this very special birthday. My thanks and congratulations on behalf of everyone Doris has helped over the years.”

Born in Merchiston, Doris was brought up in Colinton and attended James Gillespie’s junior and senior schools, where she sat in the same class as author Muriel Spark. After school and following several jobs her main employment for many years was in the Civil Service working in the Transport Department, before she moved to the City of Edinburgh Council to become a Secretary at Parsons Green Primary School.

Doris was married in St Marys Cathedral, Palmerston Place. Doris and her husband had five children, but unfortunately she lost her husband while still a relatively young woman, and sadly two of her children years later. Of her surviving children she has a daughter in Australia, and a son (David Keir) and daughter (Alison Kerr) from Livingston who attended her birthday celebration along with her daughter-in-law (Hannah Keir).

Doris has been a loyal volunteer with Northfield and Willowbrae Community Services Group since the early 1980's. She is a devout Christian and attended New Restalrig Church for many years, mostly as an Elder. She now attends the Christ Church at Britwell Crescent.

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