Lizbeth Smith (nee Bett) was introduced to SU Holidays as a pupil at Alloa Academy, and started to attend camps in the early 1940s, before beginning to volunteer as a cook in the post-war years.

"For a 12-year-old girl from Tillicoultry, the impact of my first SU camp at West Linton in 1941 (£2 for 10 days!), where we were housed in a large dormitory built for evacuees, was life-changing! Despite the simple activities by current standards, that camp made me think more about the Christian faith, gave me my first daily Bible readings’ guide and introduced me to lifelong friends.

Annual camps and reunions in Glasgow kept the SU fires burning and developed my interest in Christian service. Starting in 1947, while a student of home economics, I joined the cooks (“cookies”) at New Park School, St Andrews. The great challenge in those days was rationing!

For years, many staples of the weekly diet, like butter and bread, were strictly limited and had to be eked out over a holiday lasting at least 10 days. Industrial cooking students at my college gave me recipes of large quantities, especially helpful in reducing waste. However, what I still remember most vividly is the lack of fuss – no one turned their nose up at macaroni and cheese! Children were satisfied with what little they had, and only too pleased to eat plain everyday food although, somehow, we still managed to bake for their midnight feast…

I have so many positive memories of those camps, serving as a “mere” cook. From being a friend to the children, of whom many became Christians, to the relationships with other cooks which helped me grow as a Christian and live up to the challenge (below) that Ruth shared with us 70 years ago."

SU Scotland still depends on volunteer cooks to make brilliant holidays that change lives. Could you join the cooks…?

John Mowat

I joined SU Scotland in 2004, and my role involves various elements of fundraising. This includes, but is not limited to, coordinating our three annual appeals, overseeing applications to supportive trusts and foundations, assisting staff with their own support raising, attending some events to promote our ministry, contact with volunteers and other initiatives. I am always happy to hear from volunteers who have fresh fundraising ideas!