Pat Harland (front) at the final Friday Club.

Friday Club ends after 66 years

A club for Holbeach’s elderly met for the final time last week, 66 years after forming.

The Friday Club was set up in 1954 to give pensioners in the town somewhere to meet up.

Demand meant another daily club The Pop In was launched around 1973 and that too ran until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The organising committee of both have fruitlessly looked for others to take on the running of the groups and due to their ages they’ve decided to discontinue the sessions.

They did want to say one final farewell to the members and their careers so had a special tea at the Women’s Institute Hall last Friday.

Pat Harland, chair of the committee that oversaw both clubs, has been involved for the last 25 years alongside her husband Barry after she began to take her mum Mary Perry to the club.

“I’m 82 and Barry’s 90 and at our age it’s difficult to keep up,” Pat said. “There’s no younger people come forward to do it, so it’s with regret we’re having to close it.

“We still wanted to say one last goodbye to all the members and carers though so we organised the tea.

“It’s been going so long it’s become part of Holbeach.”

The Friday Club was initially set up by Alison Hunter through the Holbeach Old People’s Welfare Forum with money from the George V Fund.

It previously met in the Darby and Joan Hall in Barrington Gate and was at The Reading Rooms before moving to the WI Hall in 1967.

The daily Pop In sessions were created in 1973 after ‘worries about a group of elderly gentlemen congregating on the street corner of High Street and Station Road’ according to a history of the group created in 2014.

It met for a couple of hours a week, six days a week and included further off-shoots such as a luncheon club and mobile library.

The group has had plenty of support from the community including from Chosen and The Meadows.

Last week’s celebration was also boosted by cream teas provided by the Pinchbeck branch of Morrison’s.

Pat said: “It was marvellous, a lovely occasion.”

One of those in attendance was Coun Francis Biggadike who first attended bringing his mum but how now attends himself.

“It’s a sad loss for Holbeach,” he said.

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