Nothing’s too much trouble for leader of friendship group

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Christmas can be a tough time of year for elderly people who live on their own and have no-one to spend it with.

But a caring team of volunteers in Bridgemary always look out for pensioners and have helped to lift their spirits with an action-packed Christmas party.

The Tuesday Friendship Club treated its members to a three-course meal at its meeting place on the grounds of Bridgemary Community Sports College.

Everyone at the social club enjoyed taking part in two raffles, fun games and a spot of cash bingo.

Guests picked up a selection of prizes in the raffles, including hampers with tinned food, washing powder, chocolates and tea and coffee.

The club’s leader Sandy Stokes is always there to give her members a helping hand.

If people have problems putting up pictures, shelves or changing a light bulb in their homes then Sandy pops over and helps.

Recently Sandy, 59, took two people to a funeral in the New Forest because they had no other way of getting there.

And she is giving up her time on Christmas Day to take elderly people to St Faith’s Church in Lee-on-the-Solent, so they can get a turkey dinner.

Sandy, who lives in Normandy Gardens, Gosport, said: ‘We aren’t just a social club for older people.

‘We’re a lifeline to some of our members, especially for those who don’t have any family.

‘Our oldest member, May Lodge, is 104.

‘Recently, she had a fall and was advised to go to hospital.

‘But she refused to go and said she wanted to go to The Tuesday Friendship Club instead.

‘The spirit and determination of some of these people is remarkable.’

The club arranges for transport to pick up some of its members who would otherwise just stay at home all day.

‘Everyone is so grateful for the work we do,’ Sandy said. 
 ‘We get a lot of feedback from people saying they don’t ever want to see us close and it’s the only place they go.

‘They leave us at the end of a Tuesday session and can’t wait for the following one.

‘It makes my job extremely worthwhile.’

The club became independent two years ago after previously being owned by Brendoncare.