Pearl Blythe, Club Member
‘A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.” Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
In the middle of last month, I visited a newly re-formed organisation, Christine’s Club, in the meeting hall of the Methodist Church. The Club has nothing to do with the Church who, in the absence of a free meeting area elsewhere in the village, have generously opened their doors and made their hall space available.
Towards the end of May last year, I interviewed Christine Moulton about her forthcoming project to help sufferers of dementia. She Inspired by the ‘Memory Lane’ project running in Felixstowe, her intention was to offer similar opportunities for people living in Trimley. The project opened in Trimley Methodist Church on 10th September 2019. Overtaken over by illness Christine was unable to attend this or any of the subsequent meetings and sadly, she died before the year was out. By December, the month of her death the project had been running for four months and despite everyone’s best intentions the number of attendees didn’t grow as much as had been hoped. Those involved wanted the club to continue but it was clear some revision was required if numbers were to increase. Christine was a warm and open person, with the gift of making people feel comfortable and at ease. After some thought a decision was made to extend this social group to a wider audience, alter the focus and ensure Christine was remembered in the most positive manner possible.
Following this major re-think an open invitation is extended to anyone in the village to attend Christine’s Club. When I visited the first open meeting last month, some familiar faces were already there and conversation was flowing. It was an opportunity to ask about the intentions of Club and the descriptions of its simplicity are heartening. The aim is to welcome anyone and everyone for the opportunity to meet and talk to others for purely social reasons. Adults male or female, old or young, indeed all people, are all welcome. It couldn’t be less complicated. Listening to the conversation, one of the threads which emerged was the absence of a neutral, central social space for such an activity. In this case it doesn’t matter that the Hall is in a Church or that it isn’t a Pub. It is an opportunity to meet and talk with neighbours you know and neighbours you don’t know. Most of us have been newcomers to a place at some point in our lives, either at work or at a new home and perhaps know just how difficult it can be to make new acquaintances as well as learn and understand the patterns and conventions of fresh environments. It’s all too easy to feel like an uncomfortable social lemon and then become one! Social media and the internet can be wonderful things but there is no substitute for engaging with real people, just like live music. The opportunity to exchange a few words with real people in passing helps a place feel more homelike. It is easy to imagine young mothers moving into the village, who may just want to get to know people but can’t see how this might happen. Or perhaps older people moving to the village following retirement who would like to meet and mingle with more people. The existence of this informal club allows everyone to join the mix for a couple of hours.
The logistics are straightforward. There is no fixed charge for light refreshments; attendees can pay what they think is an appropriate amount towards the tea and biscuits on offer. The January edition of the ‘Parish Pump’ supplied the information but for the sake of clarity, here it is again.
The group will meet on the second Tuesday of each month from 2pm. to 4pm. at Trimley Methodist Church Hall in Mill Lane. The next meeting will be on Tuesday 11th February and subsequently on Tuesday 10th March.
It’s always worth trying something new.
Jenny Smith and Rhonda Chamberlain, also members of Christine’s Club.