Two weeks to save pensioners' Sunshine Club in Chandler's Ford

Daily Echo: Members of the Sunshine Club. Picture by James Newell. Order no: 18810035 Buy this photo Members of the Sunshine Club. Picture by James Newell. Order no: 18810035

A SENIOR citizens’ club looks set to fold after more than 50 years if it cannot find a new chairman in two weeks.

Pensioners are desperately hoping that someone will come forward to offer their services to save the group, which for many older people is the only chance they have to get out and socialise.

They say that the Sunshine Senior Citizens’ Club is vital for its 40 members, many of whom are widows or widowers.

One member has been attending for 40 years.

But the club is on the brink of closure as its chairman Iris Thomas prepares to retire.

Mrs Thomas has been running the weekly Chandler’s Ford club voluntarily for the past ten years, but at 86 she cannot continue and is set to leave in a fortnight.

Unless a replacement can be found, she says that the club will have to fold.

Members have been asked to take on the role, but many are too old or cannot take on the responsibility.

One Community, based in Romsey Road, Eastleigh, and Age Concern Chandler’s Ford are looking for someone but have not had any luck so far, according to Mrs Thomas.

The club meets every Friday afternoon in the Age Concern building, in Brownhill Road, and regularly attracts 25 people, all over 60 and the majority of whom are aged 75-80.

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It gives residents the chance to play cards and bingo, have a raffle and quiz, and enjoy entertainment from guests.

Members get a Christmas lunch, an Easter tea and even go on outings to places like Lee-on-the-Solent and Barton on Sea.

“It’s very sad,” said Mrs Thomas.

“It gets people together. It’s an outing for them once a week. Some of these people don’t go out anywhere else.”

Ivy Kemsley, 82, of Boyatt Wood, who has been attending for nearly a year, said: “I have lost my husband and it’s brought me out.

“You go out, you have outings and it’s really good and they’re nice people.”

Brenda Foster, 78, of Chandler’s Ford, who has been attending for five years, said: “It would be a real shame if it closed down.

“I’m hoping we can get someone to keep it going because we really will miss it.”

Anyone who might be able to help can call 023 8042 4498.

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