It’s goodbye for the Good Companions

Compnions club to fold after 58 years as helpers are not being replaced by younger people.'St Joseph's Church Hall, Martin Street, Brighouse'Pictured from left are Mary Shaw, Jean Robinson, Pat Mallinson, Betty Gibson and Jean Ogden
Compnions club to fold after 58 years as helpers are not being replaced by younger people.'St Joseph's Church Hall, Martin Street, Brighouse'Pictured from left are Mary Shaw, Jean Robinson, Pat Mallinson, Betty Gibson and Jean Ogden
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AN afternoon social club will close its doors for good after 58 years after a drop in members and volunteers to run it.

And 82-year-old Jean Austwick – a member of Brighouse Good Companions Club for 23 years – says it’s a sign of the times.

She said when the club was formed it was the only outlet for many women.

“Now women can do what they want and go where they want,” she said.

“I think that is the main reason why clubs are closing.”

Eva Bancroft, 93, was a founder member and said in the early days there was a full membership of 85 – plus a waiting list.

Days out and week-long trips were organised for members and like many afternoon clubs at the time it flourished.

“I have known all the members and we used to have a lot of men attending. Our husbands came when they retired,” she said.

“I never went out to work and there used to be more of a need for such clubs.”

John Walton, 91, and his wife, Joyce, 85, have been attending for 26 years.

“It’s very sad but there is a shortage of younger people,” he said.

Bag of coal

“We came for friendship and I played the piano here for 15 years.”

Mr and Mrs Walton will now join one of the few remaining afternoon clubs – at Waring Green, Brighouse.

Secretary Barbara Rice, 70, started helping out at the companions 20 years ago and stayed.

She said the club played a bigger part in people’s lives when it was formed.

“It was as much about welfare as social in the beginning,” she said.

“If someone fell on hard times the club would help with a bag of coal or blankets maybe.

“Men and women were old at 60 back then and had little else to do. Now, they go off to Benidorm for three months.

“I have been the youngest member for years until recently, but you cannot expect people pushing 80 to join a committee.”

The club marked its 58th anniversary with a birthday tea.

l Why do you think people are shunning afternoon clubs? Email yoursay@ halifaxcourier.co.uk

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