Since 1948, the Darby and Joan Club in Long Buckby has provided a friendly and welcoming space for the village’s senior citizens.
Originally hosted in St Lawrence’s Church Hall the club has significantly changed shape and is now bustling with about 95 members who meet on alternate Tuesdays in the main hall of the community centre.
Chairwoman, Chris Berry, took over the running of the club in 2001.
She said: “When I took over the club only had a few members and was dwindling so we introduced new activities to put new life into it.
“We try to do different things and go on outings like Evesham Country Park and the Chelsea Hospital, we also do bingo and bring and buy but more than anything we just have a laugh.”
Mrs Berry said the club was originally formed when villagers found themselves with leftover money from a pot they had been saving for hospital treatment. Before the NHS, she said, people hadbeen saving to afford hospital procedures but after the NHS was formed that money went to creating a club for elderly people who had gone without during the Second World War. Years later, the club still provides for the village’s elderly and recently celebrated its 65th birthday with a sausage and mash supper.
Beatrice Nixon, 81, and husband, Frank, 84, have been coming to the club for more than 20 years.
Mrs Nixon said: “We never used to have as many outings as we do now and we didn’t get to chose where we went. Now we do a lot more and a lot of my friends come here too so it’s a very friendly place.
“My role in the club is welfare so I write a lot of birthday cards and send the wine. It keeps my brain ticking over and it’s nice to be busy.”
New member, Stan Ruddlesden, 91, came along to the club for the first time last week.
He said: “A friend decided it was about time I came along and so I did. I quite like it and I’ll definitely be coming back, it’s a friendly and approachable kind of place.”
Many club members have always lived in Long Buckby and get the chance to talk about the village and their former school at the club. As the village has expanded over the years the club also provides villager’s who would not normally have met the chance to get to know each other.
Gwennie Walker, 87, was born and married in the village, has been coming to the Darby and Joan Club for 24 years. Like her parents and grandparents she’s been part of the club for a long time.
She said: “I think companionship is one of the main reasons for coming to the club. You meet your friends here and it’s really nice and there are a fair few more people coming along now than there was at one time.”