Karen leading the way at Elland WMC

President of Elland Working Mens Club Karen Graydon.
President of Elland Working Mens Club Karen Graydon.
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Karen Graydon has been a regular at Elland WMC for the last 30 years and is now the figurehead of the club’s 600-plus members.

In the early days women were only allowed to be social members and had no say in the running of the club and were barred from standing for the committee.

But, a relaxation of the rules in recent years has meant women can now join as full members and take a full and active role in the club - and WMCs elsewhere.

Mrs Graydon, of Duke Street, lives just a stone’s throw away from the South Lane premises and said the image of old men sat around rows of tables playing cards is gone.

Cards and other games are still played but in more comfortable surroundings.

“I come into the club all the time and decided to join the committee when I could.

After a period of acting president she was elected president last year - the first in the club’s history.

“We are doing very well,” said the 48-year-old mum and grandmother.

“A lot of people like to see the acts on a Saturday night and play bingo inbetween.

“We are located in a good area.”

While Mrs Graydon is the only woman on the committee she is in familiar surroundings - her father-in-law Bill Graydon was club president and her brother-in-law Steve Graydon is currently secretary. She said women had a lot of offer. “I think we are better at organising and there are lots of women who want to help but not join the committee.” The club is part of the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union which is the largest non-profit-making social entertainment and leisure organisation in the UK with six million club members.