Lunch club inceptor honoured by Queen

Jean Ball
Jean Ball

The architect of a much-loved lunch club for the elderly has been included on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Jean Ball, 67, originally came up with the idea for the Stanbridge and Tilsworth Luncheon Club in June 1993, after noticing that several of her elderly neighbours did not have the chance to get out much.

More than 22 years later the club is still going strong and its members decided that Jean, of Kings Way, Stanbridge, should be rewarded for her efforts.

Their application to have Jean recognised by the honours system has paid off and at some point before the end of the year the retired caterer will become a Member of the British Empire for “services to the Stanbridge community”.

Jean told the LBO: “I felt very humbled and it is lovely that the people at the club have done this for me.

“I read the letter three times before any of the words registered. I was gobsmakced.

“I’m also really pleased that all of their hard came to fruition.”

In the early days of the club there were seven regular attendees but that number has gradually grown over the years.

Once the club outgrew the conservatory of Jean’s old house it was moved to the Stanbridge & Tilsworth Community Hall and the number of people it attracts has now swelled to 35.

Jean said: “Everyone gets on really well and one or two have said that it is the only time they go out.

“Mostly they come for the company.”