Chestnut Club


Yardley Gobion Chestnut Club



Yardley Gobion Chestnut Club.  The following is a précis of the Chestnut Club’s history, compiled by Mrs. Betty Wallace in 2008.

In early 1961 several ladies from Yardley Gobion and one from Alderton decided to form a Club for the “over sixties” of Yardley Gobion/Grafton Regis/Alderton. Since then the catchment area has remained unchanged, determined by the locations of the founder members. The first meeting was held on the 4th April 1961. A loan of £6 to start this enterprise was obtained from the WVS (now WRVS). This was later repaid.

The original minute books of the Chestnut Club are missing. In recent years I approached Mrs. Dorothy Warren, local historian, who had in her possession numerous newspaper cuttings of early Chestnut Club meetings. I was able to borrow these and have typed copies which are now in my Scrapbook which serves as a permanent reminder of the Club’s origins. The Scrapbook currently runs to four volumes and, in addition to the Club’s history and origins, these are filled with interesting items of outings, celebrations and also details of other village activities.

When the Chestnut Club started in 1961 the members had two outings per year and a gift of a chicken at Christmas. In 2008 they have approximately seven outings, a Christmas meal and a New Year party. In 1961/62 Club membership was 35 members; in the 1980s membership went up to 67 but has since declined and in 2008 stands at 32. Nevertheless, as a regular forum, the Club continues to give pleasure to many people.

Old newspaper cuttings indicate that meetings were held weekly at the Village Hall. After a time this appears to have changed to fortnightly and today they are held monthly and have been so for many years. Scrabble, dominoes, cards, etc., are played at the meetings. We also have a regular annual visit from a local band, a clothing company and many speakers who give advice on helpful gadgets and security. From April to October we run a Bring and Buy stall.

To pay for the outings, etc., there is a small monthly membership fee but funds are raised primarily from Club activities including an annual Christmas Bazaar, a Garden Party or a sale in the Village Hall and also a stall at the local Village Fayre. Members and friends very generously donate tombola and raffle prizes. The Club has won the prize for the “Best Dressed Stall” in the past at the Village Fayre.

The Club is run by a committee of eleven, elected at the AGM each April. Account books are audited annually. Each member receives a birthday and Christmas card.

A monthly competition is open to all members. In 1972, a longstanding member, Mrs. Edith Negus, left the Club £100 in her will. It was suggested at the time that an inscribed cup in her memory should be bought from part of her legacy and this has since been awarded annually as “The Edith Negus Cup” to the member who has achieved the highest points in the monthly competitions. The winner’s name is also inscribed on the cup.

The Club celebrated its Silver anniversary in 1976, its Ruby in 2001 and looks forward to celebrating its Golden in April 2011.

The success of the Chestnut Club is due largely to the wonderful band of volunteers (including non-members) who over many years have given their service and generosity freely to the Club; this includes the afternoon tea at each meeting. The Club is indebted to these people who are too numerous to mention individually.

Founder members: Mrs. Hilda Leach, Mrs. Vera Fountaine, Mrs. Nancy Taylor, Mrs. Ada Swain, Mrs. Margaret Longhurst, Mrs. Florrie Pittam (now Eldred), Mrs. Margaret Freemantle, Mrs. Anne Shakeshaft, Mrs. Rose Warren, Miss Hilda Townsend, Miss Margaret Townsend, Mrs. Edith Lovell and Mrs. “Tom” Townsend.

Past Chairmen: Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Fountaine, Mrs. Betty Wallace, Mr. Bert Lovell, Mr. Patrick Trevor, Mr. Bill Lambert, Mr. Ted Flack and currently Mr. Peter Benge.

Past/current Secretaries: Mrs. W. Weston, Mrs. Eldred, Mrs. Holly Tyrrell, Mrs. Dorothy (Dolly) Odell, Mrs. Alice Brown, Mrs. Shirley Westwood and Mrs. Sheila Francis.

Past/current Treasurers: Mrs. Betty Wallace, Miss Margaret Townsend, Mr.Ted Nicholls, Mr. Bill Lambert, Mrs. Ada Swain, and Mrs. Moreen Howell.


More photographs will eventually appear in the Photo Archive.


 Posted by at 11:35 am