Veteran volunteer Rita Roth has received a prestigious ‘Point of Light’ award from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Jewish Care’s annual dinner for her achievement supporting the elderly in Barnet and Redbridge for more than half-a-century.

Rita, who was awarded an OBE in 1994 for services to the shipping industry which included confidential government work, first volunteered at a hospital as a teenager in the 1960s, then trained as a youth manager for her local Jewish youth club before volunteering for the charity. She also chairs her local League of Jewish Women. 

“I started volunteering as a teenager all those years ago,” she recalled. “But I never thought I would need Jewish Care.

"I really don’t know what I would have done without them, being there when my mother needed care.”

Her mother went into full-time care in 2016 at Jewish Care’s Rosetrees home in Friern Barnet, but sadly died a year later — just as Rita began fundraising for them.

Rita promised to continue her support and still visits regularly, holding morning sessions with residents, meeting their families and organising events.

“It’s given me a huge understanding of the care for older people and those living with dementia,” she added.

Rita makes the long trip from her home in Essex to Rosetrees just to give the residents and staff there their favourite chocolate — they call it “Rita’s Chocolate Drop”.

The charity’s chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said: “Her dedication is nothing short of outstanding.”

Rita and husband Andrew continued volunteering for the Jewish communities in Barnet and Redbridge during the pandemic. She and her team also delivered essentials and treats to Rosetrees, when it was permitted, despite not being able to enter the home because of Covid restrictions — yet still managed to raise £100,000 for them.

Rita’s earlier volunteering was in Barkingside Jewish Youth Club and at King George’s Hospital in Chadwell Heath. She also volunteered at a local Jewish Care home taking over a paid staff member’s job on a voluntary basis who had suddenly left.

These are typical examples of her 50 years of dedication to the Jewish communities in north London and east London.