Sunday 1st December – Happy New Year!

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Our Christmas lunch feels so long ago now! Back on the 1st December, we hosted our biggest lunch yet, serving in total (we think!) around 102 older people a full Christmas dinner and dessert followed by entertainment, gifts and copious amounts of mince pies, sherry and great company. It was quite an afternoon!

As many of you know, The Bishop’s Stortford Independent supported us last year to host our Christmas lunch and they pulled out all the stops again this year to help us put on a Christmas lunch to remember. They asked their readers to pledge refreshments, gifts and other items like crackers and tablecloths, as well as finding sponsors to pay for all the meat, vegetables, flower table decorations and other very important food items! It was a huge success, and we were once again blown away by the generosity shown by the amazing people of Bishop’s Stortford and surrounding area. Those that were unable to pledge gifts and other items made donations instead, or offered their time on the day to make sure we had enough helpers. Editor Paul came along to help too, and meet some of the guests benefitting from the incredibly generous appeal. Christmas can be a very exciting time of year, but for us it has also been a time of reflection, generosity and a time to give back to those who find Christmas difficult. We have SO many people to thank but virtually impossible to name you all one by one, so on behalf of everyone at The Welbeloved Club (including our guests), please take this as a huge THANK-YOU for supporting us this Christmas.

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The afternoon was especially fun as we just had so much going on! We were delighted to be joined by Darrell Williams, who entertained our guests with lots of Christmas songs and some sing-a-long classics including Deliah and Sweet Caroline. We all commented on how we had never seen so many people get up to dance and join in (maybe the sherry helped??) and it was such a pleasure to see so many of our guests enjoying their afternoon. Hosting our Christmas lunch at the very beginning of December always worried me a bit as ideally, the closer to Christmas the better. However, looking back I think everyone had such a good time I’m confident it would have provided a lot of comfort when returning to an empty house. The mood was high and nobody walked away empty handed thanks to the adorable Rorie and Maisie!

A few days after the lunch, I was able to read back some of the messages in the Christmas cards given to me on the day. The general theme was very heartwarming, with many thanking us for our hard work, dedication and how none of it goes unnoticed. Some told us this past year they have felt less lonely, and have made new friends at the club they would never have ordinarily met. Now they go out for lunches together, go shopping together and even just call up for a chat. Result!

I wonder what Doris would have made of this. Nearly two years in, I wonder how she would feel about being somewhat of a local celebrity, or people coming together at a club named after her to make friends. I think the fact they are enjoying fantastic food cooked by her granddaughter would have made her very proud, given the fact she clearly taught mum all she knows! But we’ve had conversations about the fact she would likely be very embarrassed and proud all at the same time. My memories of her before falling ill are very hazy, but I would like to think she would be overjoyed.

2020 I’m hoping will be a year of growth, and hopefully this time next year we will be a registered charity – that’s our dream! There is a lot of work to be done but I’m committed to dedicating more time to the club and growing it even more so we can ultimately help even lonely older people.

Thank you all so so much for all of your support in 2019, we wish you all a very Happy New Year! See you on Sunday 5th January!