IF you’ve ever found yourself in Victoria Infirmary Northwich’s waiting room the chances are you’ve paid a visit to the tea kiosk there.

For decades, this little booth has provided refreshments, a source of comfort and sometimes a shoulder to cry on thanks to the volunteers behind the counter.

Now staff have raised a teacup in honour of a group of ladies who’ve volunteered at least 150 years’ service between them via the Royal Voluntary Service while saying a fond farewell to one their longest serving helpers.

Hazel Fay, who co-ordinates the volunteers at the infirmary, said: “We are so proud of all of the wonderful people who’ve given their time to the infirmary. We wanted to celebrate their commitment and say thank you for all the hard work and kindness they’ve given over the years.”

Among those honoured were Beryl Williams and Peggy Kelly – familiar friendly faces at the Winnington Hill infirmary for 40 years each.

Beryl, 80, from Barnton, said: “I’ve always enjoyed helping here. I think what we do is important because sometimes people are scared when they come here. To have a friendly face to greet you makes a difference.”

Peggy, also from Barnton, was one of the first volunteers to work at the kiosk when all that was on offer was a cup of tea at a mere two pence a cup.

“Over time we started to get a bit more adventurous,” she laughed. “We offered coffee, and then thought it would be nice to have biscuits and chocolate too!”

While Beryl is carrying on, Peggy has decided to step down.

She said: “I’ve met lots of lovely people over the years and I have really enjoyed it. I always thought by being friendly and chatty we helped people feel a bit better about being here.”

A special afternoon tea was held in honour of the volunteers where they received long-service certificates.