The Henley Community Spirit Group of volunteers wanted to share their love of helping others by organising a Valentine’s Friendship Lunch on Saturday at the Christ Church Centre.
The group have organised a Christmas Day lunch for those on their own for the last 3 years. Irenna Bailey who heads up the group, said “The idea of the Valentine’s Friendship Lunch was Jennifer’s who lives in The Close who has been to the Christmas lunches. We tried to organise it last year. It’s lovely to see so many people here enjoying themselves. There’s about half who have been to the Christmas lunch. It’s lovely to see lots of new faces and it’s great that the Henley WI have got involved.”
The free lunch was supported by Irenna’s employer Costain and Mel Wright who owns Refine Me, anti-ageing treatment clinic (based at Kubu Spa). Guests enjoyed Sonia’s Italian pasta or cheese & onion pie followed by delicious cakes baked by Henley-on-Thames WI ladies.
Entertainment was provided by Reading Operatic Society who sang pop tunes and songs from musicals, films and TV including the Friends theme song and Wouldn’t It Be Loverly from My Fair Lady. Piers Burnell, who has starred in many shows at the Kenton theatre was asked by Sara Abey from the WI to come along and do some poetry readings. Piers said, “I’m going to read two poems by Pam Ayres I’m Going to Kill My Husband and Yes I’m Going to Marry You (which I’ve changed slightly so it makes sense as I’m a man). When Sara asked me to do this I thought it was really lovely thing to do to alleviate loneliness. I’ve recently left my high-pressure job and changed my lifestyle so I’m much more open to do more things like this in the community.”
Caroline (Vera Hearne), aged 101 years young was enjoying her first event with Tracey Lambourne one of the volunteers who she looks after sometimes and invited her. Tracey said, “Caroline is a real sweetie and I think she really enjoyed the event today.”