A Charlton woman who raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over 30 years of volunteering has been honoured by fundraising in her honour.

Isabel Colebrook passed away last year at the age of 91, after spending more than three decades working with the British Red Cross, where she is estimated to have raised in excess of £140,000. Following her passing, friends and family raised just under £2,500 to buy five new wheelchairs so that her memory can keep supporting the community.

Isabel’s daughter, Lizzie, said: “We set up a JustGiving page, hoping any donations would fund a new wheelchair for Andover Red Cross. But friends and family raised nearly £2,500, which is extraordinary.

“Now the local Mobility Aids centre has a whole fleet of wheelchairs and gadgetry to keep us all mobile thanks to this great appreciation of mum!”

Born in 1929, Isabel was an only child who family said “had a gift for bringing people together”. She won a scholarship to Christ’s Hospital School in Surrey, where the impact of WW2 saw a very different school experience.

“She mentioned nights in makeshift underground dorms and knitting socks and balaclavas for the soldiers,” Lizzie said. “Rationed food meant inventive school cooks served up non-descript soup with stodgy mash floating in the middle! She often opened the batting for the school cricket team, which again testifies to her strength of character.”

Coming from a family of nurses, Isabel also trained to become a nurse at St Thomas’s Hospital in London, moving up to theatre sister who helps with operations. During this time, she met her husband John, a church curate and they married in 1961. She followed him to Andover in 1968.

However, tragedy struck in 1983 when John passed away following a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease. The condition, which causes the nerves which control muscles to become less co-ordinated over time and muscle weakness, may have driven Isabel to begin volunteering with the Mobility Aids Service, which provides wheelchairs and other mobility aids on a short-term basis to those who need it.

Isabel would spend the next 30 years volunteering for the service, as part of the British Red Cross, and continued to field calls from her armchair even when her mobility began to decline.

Following her death last year, her daughters Caroline and Lizzie decided to do something in her memory. Even after her death, they received tributes from members of the public.

“When a gentleman came to collect her wheelchair after she died, he said with a smile: ‘Your mother was a legend - she raised thousands of pounds for the Red Cross!’ which was just wonderful to hear that she was so well thought of,” said Lizzie.

Isabel’s close friend Shelia Cowap, and fellow volunteer, suggested creating a JustGiving page to raise funds, saying: ““There couldn’t be more a more appropriate way to remember Isabel than this. She would be pleased to know thanks to this donation we will be able to help more people for many years to come.”

After raising just shy of £2,500, five new wheelchairs, which pay tribute to Isabel on their seat, have been purchased for the service, providing help for some of the 50,000 supported by the charity with mobility aids each year. Mobility aids can be obtained from Andover’s Red Cross centre on Suffolk Road.

If you want to find out more about the British Red Cross, or volunteer, visit: www.redcross.org.uk