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Norwich: lunch club couple honoured for work with elderly

A couple who have helped to run a Norwich church luncheon club for the elderly for the past 27 years have been honoured by the Queen in the Birthday Honours list, reports Network Norwich & Norfolk ...

A couple who have helped to run a Norwich church luncheon club for the elderly for the past 27 years have been honoured by the Queen in the Birthday Honours list, reports Network Norwich & Norfolk
 
Roy and Mary Hansell, who with other members of the St Luke’s congregation, founded the club for the elderly in 1986, have been recognised with the British Empire Medal (BEM). The club started with only 12 members, now there are over 50 and all come from within two miles of the church.
 
St Luke’s vicar, Rev Nicholas Vesey, said: “It is a real team effort with people helping with the cooking, the washing up, the serving of the food. With entertainment, outings, and bringing in invited guests.”
 
Refreshments, newspapers, card games and dominoes are provided before lunch after which there is a  varied programme of entertainment and once a month a short service. Special events include a Christmas lunch with entertainment and a summer outing. The club also organises special deals on food and other provisions through bulk buying.
 
The club provides an access point for statutory agencies and voluntary organisations, such as hearing aid’ clinics, energy conservation talks and Age Concern briefings.
 
“We provide a real social centre for the people that attend – remembering birthdays, organising treats, and generally making that Wednesday the highlight of the week,” said Nicholas. “Nutrition is a key aspect of the club, the meal being probably the best that the clients will have in the week. Many of those who come are very infirm, some come in wheelchairs and many are over 90.
 
Roy, aged 84, told the EDP: “When Mary started cooking we knew we were going to have 12 people and she said, ‘I have never cooked for more than four’, but I said all you have to do is do four, and multiply it by three. She has been multiplying ever since.”
 
“Roy and Mary have given so much to the Luncheon Club, as have all the other volunteers,” said Nicholas. “I know they see the club as being a church in itself, showing the love of the church through actions. I have enormous respect for what they do”.
 

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