Cloth doll wearing the uniform of a British Red Cross nurse

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This small, soft, cloth doll is dressed up to look like a British Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment (or VAD) nurse. She wears a white cotton bonnet that is loose enough to show a string of auburn pin curls and a long-sleeved, blue cotton dress with a fitted white apron that bears the Red Cross logo. Apart from small signs of age it looks as though she has been well loved and well looked after.

The donor Mrs Pat Goodyear was given the doll by Miss Violet Tanner who Mrs Goodyear used to visit in her capacity as a home help volunteer. Miss Tanner had been a volunteer with the Hampshire Branch of the British Red Cross and served as a trained nurse during the First World War. She lived in Farnham, Surrey in 1918 and was 35 years old when she was first engaged with the British Red Cross.

This doll is a beautiful symbol of the respect and adoration the Red Cross volunteers have earned over the years. We can only hope that this doll gave as much comfort and hope to its owner as the Red Cross Nurses have given to those in need.

Audio recording by Emily Gilbert (volunteer), Birmingham.
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Violet Tanner (b.1883)

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