A quintet of young Linslade women who set up HELP – Help Elderly Linslade Pensioners – in 1965 are now all senior citizens themselves.
The scheme, currently known as The LINK. celebrated its golden anniversary at a party at Duncombe Drive Day Centre.
Original member Myrna Green of Rock Lane, who also founded Leighton’s dial-a-ride Buzzer Buses, said guests enjoyed a slice of cake and a glass of wine and were entertained by the Friday Singers.
The 78-year-old said: “Numbers are dwindling and we’re all getting old ourselves.
“I’d just had my son when the group started. In those days there was only a few of us and not many of them.
“My husband had bought a business in the village but we hadn’t really got involved – that’s why I joined.
“We did anything and everything for the old poeple – from simply talking to them, to doing their shopping or going to the the library for them.
“What they mostly needed was comfort, someone just to sit down and have a chat. We met some lovely people, but one was a real old bat, she’s dead now.
“Whenever I went in with shopping, there was always something else she needed urgently – some soap, whatever. She just needed company really.”
She added: “When we had the national electricity cuts in 1972, we visited the more vulnerable ones to make sure they were safe and understood what was happening.”
Myrna remembers a kind-hearted volunteer called Barbara Smith who cooked Christmas dinner for anyone living on their own, which was then delivered by other helpers.
When Leighton and Linslade joined forces, HELP was asked to extend its services to cover the whole town and its name was changed to Leighton Linslade Senior Citizens Association.
“We continued until 2000,” Myrna recalled. “By then the original members were more eligible to attend meetings than run them.
“But a fanatastic lady called Phyl Savage bullied us into carrying on so that the old folk could see their friends and enjoy some entertainment.
“The LINK continues to this day with its monthly evening gatherings.”
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