Anniversary celebration at Portchester Luncheon Club

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SIXTY years of providing friendship and fun for older people were marked with a special anniversary lunch.

Portchester Lunch Club, a social group for older people, meets every Thursday at Portchester Parish Hall, in Castle Street.

CELEBRATION Margary Bennett and Lyn Spry '''                           Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143689-2)

CELEBRATION Margary Bennett and Lyn Spry ''' Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143689-2)

Yesterday saw its 54 members celebrate the club’s anniversary.

Organiser Janet Lynn said: ‘It was started as part of the church for mostly vulnerable, lonely elderly people and it has gone on from there.

‘It is more than just lunch, it is a social gathering. Lots of them are on their own and when they come they chat away. It’s lovely to see.’

The lunch was made even more special as the two daughters of the woman who set up the club, Doris Arliss, made a guest appearance.

Sisters Sue Barrett, from Bordon, and Ann Harlow, from Gosport, said they were delighted to see the club still going strong, particularly as their father Wilf had enjoyed going to the meetings.

Mrs Barrett said: ‘It’s lovely. Until last year my dad still came here until he died aged 102. It is a friendly club, always has been.’

Members range up to 99 years old. Club member Bryan Jerrard, of Hatherley Crescent, Portchester, praised the club and said he looks forward to his weekly visit. The 82-year-old said: ‘It’s absolutely outstanding.

‘I came here first with my wife Margaret who I lost 14 months ago. I was doing all the cooking and it was a nice break. I have been coming ever since and enjoy sitting on the men’s table, where the conversation is exciting.’

The club is run by volunteers, who pick up members in a minibus. Five teams rotate cooking the lunches each week for 50 weeks each year. Other special guests at the meal included mayor of Fareham, David Norris, and his wife and mayoress Pamela and the vicar of St Mary’s Church in Portchester Rev Ian Meredith.

Cllr Norris said: ‘It’s marvellous. What goes on here every Thursday and has gone on for the last 60 years. The enthusiasm of the volunteers has kept it going and the people who come here appreciate it.

‘Everyone is happy and all get on together.’