A popular Ripley club for over 50s shows no signs of stopping as it celebrates its 40th anniversary this week.
The Greenhillocks Fellowship, which meets every Wednesday at 2pm at the Wood Street Methodist Church has been providing entertainment, social events and trips out for its members since the 1970s.
It was originally formed by housewives in the Greenhillocks area on the outskirts of Ripley and Marehay, who set it up as a way of meeting others for a good cup of tea and a natter once a week.
Now current Chairman David Hill, of Colledge Street, Riddings says the club is still going great guns, with 87 members and a roster of top entertainers from musicians to radio DJs, as well as guest speakers and five subsidised days out a year.
The former council housing officer, 69, and wife Ann, who used to own nursery supply shop Scallywags in Leabrooks, have been with the fellowship for eight years and say it is just as important now as it ever was in the 1970s.
David said: “For a lot of our members it’s the only function that they go to throughout the week.
“We’ve got lots of people that live on their own and they look forward to the opportunity to go somewhere they know, that’s a safe environment.
“It’s a chance to come out and be entertained, and have a cup of tea and biscuit afterwards - and it only costs them a pound each week.
“You can’t even buy a cup of coffee for that nowadays!”
The club celebrated its anniversary on Wednesday, May 15, with an open day of activities featuring songs and a speech by the club’s president, Doug Fake MBE.
The whole event was sponsored by Ripley based Fizzio Fit, which David says the members are very grateful for.
Nearly all of the entertainers that feature each week are professionals, David says, and many of them work on the cruise ship circuit.
And each of the fellowships’ trips - which this year include days out to Worcester, Buxton, The National Arboretum near Lichfield and Llandudno, cost just £6.
The club is funded through the small membership fees and yearly grants from Amber Valley borough, Derbyshire county and Ripley town councils.
Roy and Brenda Maycock, of Mount Pleasant, Ripley, have been going to Greenhillocks for 17 years now and say they have made plenty of good friends through the weekly meets.
Former Co-op employee Brenda, 79, said: “It gets you out of the house in the afternoon, it’s a lovely club.
“You get really good entertainment each week.
“People come and give talks, there’s singing, they have choirs, people playing the guitar, it’s nice. And everybody’s very friendly.”
Greenhillocks always welcomes new members - so if you are interested in joining, call David on 01773 605585.