Shireoaks: Food comes second to friendship

Feature on Shireoaks Luncheon Club (w130620-4)
Feature on Shireoaks Luncheon Club (w130620-4)

You might think that a luncheon club was all about food.

But you’d be mistaken.

The meal takes second place to the friendships which are formed round the table.

That much is obvious from a chat with the members of Shireoaks Luncheon Club.

Ninety-seven-year-old Nora Blaydes has been a member since it started 33 years ago.

The great-grandma, of Cornwall Road, Shireoaks, joined after being widowed.

“I’d rather come here than have another man,” she laughed.

“I enjoy the company and I’ve made lots of friends.”!

“My husband Leonard died when he was 62 but I’ve carried on and made a life for myself.”

Joyce Blagg, 87, of Whitsun Dale, Worksop, is also a widow.

“I joined 20 years ago , it’s a good way of meeting people and getting out of the house,” she said.

“I used to live in Shireoaks and my husband worked there so it’s nice for me to get back there.”

The club meets on Thursdays at Shireoaks village hall, but has a trip out once a year.

This year’s outing was to the Shireoaks Inn.

Jean Hodgkins, 67, of Hillside Crescent, Worksop, has been the club’s organiser for three years and a member for ten.

She said: “Anybody over the age of 60 can join, we’ve got plenty of spaces.”

“We meet from 12pm to 1.30pm and we get hot meals delivered by Notts County Council.”

“Everything is ready to serve out, we only have to make the gravy and custard.”

When someone joins, Jean c hecks whether there is anything they can’t eat, so that an alternative can be sent. Vegetarian meals are also available.

Jean and her husband Derek - who also helps out at the lunch club - used to run Shireoaks Post Office before retiring.

Jean said: “I wanted something to do so I went to the village hall to ask if there was anything and I ended up at the luncheon club.”

Door-to-door transport is available with Town Taxis, who Jean was full of praise for.

She said: “When I asked how much it would be to take everyone to Shireoaks Inn I was told there would be no charge, it was their treat.”

Taxi driver Rob Cumberland said it was a pleasure to drive the club members.

He said: “They are brilliant passengers.”

David Balcombe, 79, of Royds Crescent, Rhodesia, has been helping out at the club for 19 years, along with his wife Margaret.

“I’m caretaker at the village hall . I enjoye helping out, these people are my friends,” he said.

Pearl Shaw, 86, of Nelson Cottages, Worksop, was widowed eight years ago.

She said: “It’s somewhere to go and to mix with people. It’s nice to get out and it’s a friendly atmosphere.”

The meals cost £4 and transport is £1.50 per journey.

To find out more call Jean on 483586.