Muswell Hill woman inspired by Mitzvah day to visit care home every week

Two years ago Muswell Hill resident Miriam Rich and her two children started visiting an elderly lady at Rosetrees Care Home in Friern Barnet.

It was the start of a friendship between her family and the then 96-year-old Ray Zarropp.

Mrs Rich was inspired by Mitzvah Day to get involved with the care home where she lived and after her first visit, she decided to make it a regular part of her life.

“Mitzvah Day is about giving up your time and it helps people get used to volunteering.

“It’s not just about the day,” the 39-year-old PR consultant explained.

“Once you get a taste for volunteering, hopefully you’ll want to do more.”

On her weekly or fortnightly visits to the care home – sometimes with her two children, and sometimes on her own – Mrs Rich and Mrs Zarropp would have a laugh about years gone by or talk about their past week.

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“She used to talk a lot about her husband, who was also in the care home,” said Mrs Rich.

“They had lived a long and happy life together but his health wasn’t as strong as hers.”

Mrs Zarropp grew up in Brick Lane, East London, where her family owned a fruit and vegetable stall.

Mrs Rich recalled hearing tales of life there.

“Then lots of Jewish people had settled there,” she said.

“The sad thing is that she wanted to go back to see how it had changed.”

Mrs Rich added: “She used to say if she could do it all over again, she would live her own life – she’d had a good life. “She was very upbeat and positive and it was inspiring to hear that.”

Mrs Zarropp died in June but Mrs Rich wants to continue volunteering at a care home.

“It’s not about Jewish people doing good for the Jewish community.

“It’s about everyone giving up some of their time and getting out into the wider community.”

To get involved with the Ham&High Challenge, which asks readers to volunteer to visit every care home in the local area on Mitzvah Day on November 18, email or call 020 7433 5160.

Mitzvah Day can connect you and your friends, colleagues or family with a retirement home.

Mitzvah Day can also help you organise other types of volunteering projects.

? To participate call 0207 443 5160 or email