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Last meeting of the Leek and District's Townswomen's Guild

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 10, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • The last members of the Leek and Moorlands Townswomen's Guild, which was formed 66 years ago.

  • From the left: vice-chairman Monica Nixon, chairman Dot Shepherd, president Barbara Waterhouse, and secretary Linda Gaunt.

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AN all-ladies social group has met for the last time after 66 years of regular gatherings.

The Leek and Moorlands Townswomen's Guild formed in 1948, but the group, with 24 members, met for the last time on Monday, February 24.

While members of the Leek and Moorlands Townswomen's Guild celebrated a 65th Anniversary Meal at The Knot Inn, Rushton last summer, a vote took place at the beginning of this year to decide on the fate of the organisation.

Eighty-three per cent of the members present at the extraordinary meeting voted to close the guild, and as minimum of 75 per cent was needed this motion was carried.

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However, the Lunch Club of the Leek and Moorlands Townswomen's Guild is set to continue meeting up every third Thursday of the month.

Secretary Linda Gaunt said: "It is a shame that after celebrating our 65th anniversary, falling membership, coupled with lack of volunteers to take on as officers and committee members, has resulted in the closure."

She added: "It's the common story in these organisations – falling membership, existing members all getting older.

"I was the youngest at pushing 60. It's also lack of volunteers to join the committee or take on the chairman and vice-chairman.

The existing ones have done more than their allotted years and really want a break.

"It's very frustrating. We have appealed on many occasions for volunteers, threatened that we will have to close if we don't get people to help run the guild, but no-one has come forward."

Elaine Brown, aged 90, had been a member of the Guild since she was in her 20s.

She said: "We had well over 100 members when I first joined.

"I have enjoyed the social and educational sides of being a member of the guild and all in all it has been very successful over the years.

"I do feel sad that the group has ended but happy that I will no longer need to come out at night time.

"It perhaps would have been better for some if we had met in the afternoon, but then those that still work would not have been able to attend.

"I see it that the group is going out gracefully. We have done all sorts of things over the years and I am pleased that the lunch club will be continuing."

Chairman Dot Shepherd, aged 80, said: "I have been a member for 50 years. I was the youngest member at one point.

"I am sad that the group has closed, but nobody wants to take on the jobs of the committee.

"Everybody is getting older – there is nothing we can do."

Valarie Tatton, aged 73 of Leek, added: "The benefits of being a member of the guild has been meeting lots of people and we have had lots of interesting speakers.

"Over the years we have had some great day trips out too.

"I think it is a shame that the group has ended."

She added: "We will have to look for something else which is just as suitable."

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