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Stalwart helps Darby & Joan Club’s 60th bash after keeping a promise
FORTY years ago Pat Jarvis made a deathbed promise to take care of a village social group for seniors.
She made the pledge to the Steventon Darby and Joan Club’s founder Bet Russell before she died in Abingdon Community Hospital around 40 years ago.
And now aged 76 herself, Mrs Jarvis is overseeing the group’s 60th birthday celebration this month.
She said: “I feel this is a great achievement for a village club.”
Mrs Jarvis, of Castle Street, said the group went on more outings now but the basics were still the same.
She said: “It’s changed a lot since Mrs Russell was taken ill as it never had the outings we have now.
“But on the other hand it hasn’t changed. They play cards and dominos, they have a cup of tea and homemade cake, and then we have a raffle, and they have a good old chat.
“It’s socialising and it’s been going a long time. They all seem to enjoy it.”
The club, which has about 50 members over the age of 60, meets on the second and fourth Thursday of every month at Steventon Village Hall unless they go on an outing.
It also offers free and subsidised trips to towns, the seaside, museums, dinners, shopping trips, and dances.
Mrs Jarvis is helped by eight others and cash is raised through sale of cake, hot drinks, and raffle tickets.
She said it was important for elderly villagers to get together, adding: “Some of them haven’t seen anybody for a couple of weeks.
“They can come and meet a lot of villagers.”
Audrey Hancock, 82, of The Causeway, who has been helping out for about 20 years, believes the group is a key part of village life. She said: “If it was not there, older people wouldn’t know each other as much because they are all spread out. It helps enormously.”
She addedthe celebration felt even more special as it was also the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year too, adding: “Everyone is feeling buoyant.”
To celebrate 60 years of the club, the group is having lunch at the Windmill Restaurant near Burford on Thursday.