TIME TO CELEBRATE: Club leaders, trustees and staff of Teesdale Day Clubs were still smiling at the end of the three parties
TIME TO CELEBRATE: Club leaders, trustees and staff of Teesdale Day Clubs were still smiling at the end of the three parties

CELEBRATIONS to mark the 25th anniversary of a Teesdale charity began last week with parties at three different venues across the dale.

The Association of Teesdale Day Clubs has been providing freshly prepared lunches to more than 200 older residents across the dale, every week, for the past quarter of a century.

To mark its silver anniversary the charity, which has been lauded for tackling rural and social isolation, has arranged four celebratory lunches.

The first three, held in Staindrop, Barnard Castle and Mickleton, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week, were attended by members from all ten regular lunch clubs and their volunteer helpers.

Day clubs staff were on hand at all three venues to serve up the celebratory lunches to their members, volunteers and trustees.

The decision to hold the birthday lunches across three separate venues and dates was made when organisers realised there wasn’t a venue big enough to cater for all the members, volunteers and staff.

At the first, 73 members and volunteers from Staindrop, Winston and Gainford lunch clubs enjoyed a three course luncheon accompanied by wine in the Scarth Hall. Then on Wednesday, 92 guests from Barnard Castle, Stainton Grove, Evenwood and Woodland dined at Barnard Castle Cricket Club.

Finally, at Mickleton Village Hall, there were 78 guests from Mickleton, Cotherstone and Middleton-in-Teesdale clubs.

At each event, in addition to lunch, there were identical celebratory birthday cakes, baked by Alison Sayer and decorated by Dawn Gibson.

At the Staindrop party, Vera Featherstone, who had been a cook with the charity, then a volunteer and is now a regular lunch club member, was asked to cut the cake with Annie Dolphin, the board of trustees treasurer.

At the Barnard Castle luncheon, vice-chairman of the trustees Peter McGuinness toasted the success of the charity and paid tribute to volunteers, staff and members in a toast before cutting the cake.

He shared the honours the following day at Mickleton village hall of cutting the cake with long time member of Mickleton lunch club, Ivan Noon.

At each lunch Madeleine Walton, the charity’s community worker, thanked everyone for attending and introduced Andrea Hobbs, the charity’s new strategic manager.

She said: “I was delighted to have been asked to give the speech.

“Unfortunately our chairman Peter Wood was unable to attend but had he been here he would have liked to thank everyone for being here, so thank you.”

She added: “Members are the key thing and you keep us going but without the volunteers we could not run or be able to manage.”

There will be a fourth dinner, this time at Raby Castle later in the autumn, when the charity’s patron, Lady Barnard will join members, volunteers, guests and staff.