Sunday 3rd June – lots of new faces!

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I knew the day would come where I would have to face the inevitable discomfort of having to turn people away! I’m absolutely thrilled the word is spreading and our club is proving so popular, but it’s never easy to have the conversation with those that miss out – hopefully that is all about to change!

It’s with great pride and excitement that I’m able to tell you that on 5thAugust 2018, we will be hosting our lunch in a bigger venue, the Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall! The committee have been so gracious in allowing us to use the space, at a discounted rate while we get ourselves established. I never thought back in February that by June, we would be needing to expand due to demand. What a wonderful thought that so many are enjoying the escape from four walls and wanting to spend time with us on a Sunday. I’m a terrible one for taking praise where due and all that, but I genuinely do not ‘give to receive’. We all really enjoy hosting lunch for our guests, and we all feel it is absolutely the right thing to be doing. Don’t get me wrong, at the time of writing this I have spent my whole Saturday afternoon doing admin for The Welbeloved Club, but the good always outweighs the bad. It is all so worth it!

Our lunch this month was a first for me too – who knew parsley sauce was so damn tasty?! Guests enjoyed Gammon followed by chocolate sponge and custard! Here is why Mum is so talented…she forgot the receipe for the pudding and still rustled up a delicious sponge for 60 odd people. Who else could do that? I’m so lucky to have her. Genuinely, good atmosphere and company only goes so far – it’s the food they all come back for and there’s a reason why.

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I was lucky enough to be joined for a short time by Vernon Brown of Pitman Training in Bishop’s Stortford. A while ago, Vernon got in touch with me to explain that Pitman Training run community awards in the area and he thought The Welbeloved Club was something that should be recognised. Jump forward a few months and here I am with a shiny award and a £500 voucher to spend on any Pitman Training course. Thank you! Vernon made a brief thoughtful speech to our guests, with many taking a trip down memory lane reflecting on the Pitman Training courses they once took many moons ago. Vernon was very gracious in his words to and about me and the club but not without me insisting it is a team effort! I do the ‘back room’ work but on the day, I barely lift a finger.

Our youngest volunteer Tallulah has come on leaps and bounds. Her first lunch she took small steps by helping me set up tables and count money, but I know her mum would agree she was somewhat shy and apprehensive about chatting with guests. As any 10-year-old would be! A few months later and I simply cannot pull her away! Not only does she help me set up, she also arranges our beautiful flower arrangements every month, sells raffle tickets, collects money, serves dinner and has a right good old natter with the oldies! It’s wonderful to see her confidence grow, and just proves the research going on right now into the benefits of older people spending time with younger children is something worth listening to. They absolutely adore her, and I feel they really appreciate her giving up her precious home work/play time to spend the day with them. Thank you, Tallulah and all of our volunteers who give up their valuable down time to enable me to pull this off! Especially this month, where hay fever certainly got the better of me and I was no use to anyone!

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It’s worth mentioning that our lovely Charles took one of Tallulah’s flower arrangements home to put next to a photo of his wife, Eileen, who he lost nearly two years ago.

I’m also really glad the word is getting out into Bishop’s Stortford, my hometown! I’m looking into now hiring a bus from the council to provide the transport so more people can join us. The rate is incredibly reasonable, so I’m hoping this is another service we can afford to provide.

I’m now in the process of applying for a grant from East Herts council in order to pull off a special Armistice celebration for our November lunch. God, there won’t be a dry eye in the house! I’m hoping the celebration will include entertainment, decorations and themed gifts along with the usual costs of venue hire and food/drink. It’s a lovely idea to offer grants for this sort of occasion so fingers crossed for approval.

With the news we are expanding, now is the time to spread our message far and wide! We need to push for new members so please, if you know anyone or even a neighbour or friend who may like to join us, get them to get in touch or visit our website. Similarly, with expansion comes more expenditure. We are still fundraising, and if we can find time to host a fundraiser we certainly will do! All details of everything can be found on our website.

The 1stof July will, all going to plan, be our last lunch at The Hailey Centre. I’ve no idea what I’m getting myself into (I work full time!), but I’m confident I can pull this off with the incredible support I have around me and the kind words our guests say every month. I’m constantly told we are making a difference to their lives and that is ultimately the biggest compliment anyone can ever pay me.

See you on the 1stJuly, for Wimbledon celebrations!

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