Henley 60+ Club Unveils Newly Refurbished Kitchen

The Henley 60+ Club celebrated the opening of their newly refurbished kitchen on Thursday morning with tea, scones, and a splash of Prosecco. The state of the art kitchen was funded by generous contributions from a number of individuals and organisations: The Tony Lane Foundation, Ted Dorey, Henley Municipal Charities, Invesco, Giles Robinson, Shanly Foundation, and Urs Schwarzenbach.

Many of the sponsors of the kitchen were present for the kitchen’s official opening, and could see their names unveiled on a plaque above the serving hatch. Henley Mayor, Councillor Sarah Miller had the honour of cutting the red ribbon to officially open the kitchen, and lifting the veil on the commemorative plaque.

The new kitchen was first thought of prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and at the time felt like an extravagant dream for the team at the 60+ Club. Gill Dodds, Chair of the 60+ Club Trustees, expressed her gratitude to the number of people included in the project, including the many sponsors; Ken Arlett (who project managed the refurbishment); the Town Council; the 60+ Club managers; and Lorraine Hillier for putting on a delicious spread to mark the occasion.

Steven Treviss attended on behalf of the Tony Lane Foundation, whose donation was instrumental in making the kitchen refurbishment a reality. He said, “We think it’s a really important, integral part of the club and obviously we would like to see the club continue for many years to come, so we were really pleased to contribute in the way that we have.”

Gill noted, “It was really a conversation with Anna and Della [Burnside – Trustees for the Tony Lane Foundation] and Jenny [Tony Lane’s daughter] that started the whole thing before lockdown. The Tony Lane Foundation really wanted to do something substantial in the club, and Liz, Sue and I said the kitchen. That was the start of it, and then we had lockdown so it went quiet for a couple of years. We started talking about it again at the end of last year.

“In the meantime, we have been very fortunate here and have had a wonderful donation, a legacy left by Ted Dorey, who was a member here. He used to always turn up late for his lunch, and the managers would always keep it warm for him in the cupboard. He left us a really generous donation.” Ted Dorey was a member of the club for many years, as well as a well known part of the Henley community. As well as leaving the club a generous donation, he also gifted them his portrait, painted by Clive Hemsley, which hangs above his favourite seat.

Speaking about the shiny new kitchen, Gill said, “It is amazing, actually, and we do such smashing meals here. These ladies know about cooking, and they’d soon tell Craig if they weren’t happy. For £7, it’s a fantastic meal. A lot of the people here are on their own and they wouldn’t cook a roast dinner on their own. I think it’s lovely.”

Before officially opening the kitchen, Councillor Sarah Miller said, “I am just delighted to be here. As Gill has said, this club is invaluable to so many people, and I can’t wait — how many years have I got? Actually I’m not going to tell you, but I will be booking my spot. Thank you all for inviting me. The kitchen looks amazing and I’ve heard about the fabulous food that comes out of it because my mum has recently rejoined, and she’s really enjoying it.”

The 60+ Club is always looking to welcome new members through its doors. Membership costs just £20 for the year, and gives people the chance to take part in a number of social events and activities, as well as indulge in the delicious meals from the new kitchen! For those interested in joining, Gill Dodds said, “Just come in! Meet one of our managers, have a look round, have a cup of coffee, and chat to us. You’ll be made to feel welcome.”