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"Darby and Joan" Club

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th April 1949, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Derby & Joan members
874 Can Join this Club

In Rushden there are 478 people between the ages of 70 and 75, and 396 over 75. All 874 are eligible for membership of the “Darby and Joan” Club, christened on Friday.

The club – planned to be an old folks home from home for at least one afternoon a week – was a natural, spontaneous success. The “Joans” came along to the first meeting in the B.W.T.A. Hall with their shopping bags, and the “Darbys” with their pouches of baccy.

Within a few moments more than 60 of them were chatting away happily together.

There were Toc H helpers to give a friendly word of greeting at the door and offer an unobtrusive word of guidance; there were magazines and cards available, and there were daffodils on the platform.

The whole atmosphere was informal, even the opening ceremony. The old folk were told that the “Club” had been born as a result of a discussion at a Toc H meeting when the view was expressed that while much was done for the younger generation, older people were inclined to be left out.

Toc H Thanked

“We did not think that right,” said one of the workers, “so we are hoping to run meetings once a week. If you don’t want to do anything, don’t do anything. We want you to feel that you can do anything you like – and there are not many places where you can do that.”

Councillor J. H. J. Paragreen (chairman of Rushden Urban Council) agreed with the sentiment when he referred to the “nice turn up” and thanked Toc H for making the move to organise the club.

He spoke of the number of old folk in Rushden, and the possibility of holding more meetings if there were more interested.

The old people were also told that an attempt had been made to get premises which would be available every afternoon, but in this case the sponsors had not been successful.

“In some towns wealthy people have given whole houses for the use of old people, but in Rushden we have not yet been successful. We are, however, going to keep it in mind, and then perhaps some kind soul will give us a whole house that we can use. Till then we will make do with second best.

“You are wondering what we have in mind. We can have a games period. You can have a cup of tea. You can come here, play games, or just sit. We are hoping that you will meet old friends here and that there will always be someone here who wants to see you.”

It was revealed that a number of people had shown interest in the club. A dry cleaning firm had stated that they would be prepared to clean any article belonging to any member of the club for 2s 6d. A person had offered to attend on Fridays to help any of the old folk fill in forms.

During the afternoon tea was served and entertainment was provided by Mrs. Wicks, Mrs. Perkins and Mrs. E. Norman.

A meeting was held on January 8th, 1967 at the home of Mrs. D Fairey, 135 Higham Road. Eleven members were present, apologies were received from Mrs. Andrews and Mrs. Dickens. Mrs. S. Bland former Chairman was to be asked to be the Social Visitor to the Club.
Officers elected were as follows:-


Mrs. V. Thornton   

Vice Chair:

Mrs. G. Smith     


Mrs. D. Lenton   

Assistant Sec:   

Mrs. Stringer


Mrs. Fairey      

Holiday Club:

Mrs. J. Morrice
Mrs. Moore

Entertainment Secretary:

Mrs. B. Smith - With each committee member giving help with same.


Mrs. B. Smith, Mrs. Howard, Mrs. Dickens, Mrs. Rich.

Refreshment Committee:

Mrs. Rappitt, Mrs. Stringer, with Mrs. Andrews, Mrs. Cave & Mrs. Rich.

Organisers of Raffle:

Mrs. Lenton. Mrs. G. Smith.

Certificate presented to Alice Dorothy Fairey in 1979 for 25 years' service to the Club

It was decided to close each meeting at 3.55. p.m. with a verse of a hymn - the Club to choose an appropriate one for the next three months. The committee to provide cakes for the club on alternate months, dates being February 24th, April 23th, June 30th, September 29th and November 24th.

An outing to the Black & White Minstrel Show at Coventry was fixed for March 20th or April 10th. Coaches to leave at usual pickups at 1 p.m. Fare to be 12/-.

Birthday Party This is to be held if possible at the Queen Street School on April 7th. A sandwich tea to be provided.

A Free Half-day Outing was fixed for March 10th leaving usual times and pickups returning by 4.15. p.m.

A Full Days Outing was fixed for July 7th and half-day outing for August 25th, destinations to be named later.

The age of Club members to be kept at 65 years.

After thanks had been expressed to the hostess, the date of the next meeting was fixed for Monday February 6th at 111 Higham Road.

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