Four decades of friendship – and still going strong

Friends celebrating the anniversary as well as Edward Barron's 95th birthday.
Picture : Habibur Rahman
Friends celebrating the anniversary as well as Edward Barron's 95th birthday. Picture : Habibur Rahman

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A GROUP that has been uniting elderly residents across the town has celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Tuesday Friendship Club in Gosport has been meeting since 1977, and celebrated the past four decades at its current home, St Mary The Virgin Church in Rowner Lane.

The Friendship Club meets at the church every week to give elderly residents the chance to have a hot meal and enjoy one another’s company.

According to the group’s organisers, many of these residents struggle to get out of the house, with the meetings being one of the few opportunities to interact with other people during the week.

Volunteers drive the residents to the church, where they enjoy bingo and raffles.

On the same day as the celebrations, one of the club’s members, Eddie Barron, was celebrating his 95th birthday.

He said: ‘The best thing about the group is the company.

‘It gives us somebody to talk to – I live alone so this is the best chance to speak to other people.

‘Everybody is really friendly here and we all get on so well – I just love coming here.’

Doris Swift, 92, from Bridgemary, said: ‘I have been coming to the Friendship Club ever since it started – and quite a lot has changed in that time.

‘Obviously the people have changed, and we’ve moved between a few different places as well.

‘But the most amazing thing is the companionship – we don’t always get to see each other during the rest of the week, so this is always something we look forward to.’

Margaret Delahunty, 89, said: ‘I have also been coming since the group was started.

‘We all love catching up with one another because we all know each other’s stories – what’s happening in our lives and families.’

Group organiser Sandra Stokes said: ‘The club has become increasingly popular over the past few years.

‘It is nice to know that when they have come here, they’ve had both a hot meal and a good natter with their friends. That is really important to us.’

The Tuesday Friendship Club is open to anyone who is interested in joining.

The group is looking for volunteers to help out with running the sessions – for more information call Sandra Stokes on (023) 9243 5047.