They’ve been Companions for almost 60 years . . .

Companions club to fold after 58 years as helpers are not being replaced by younger people.'St Joseph's Church Hall, Martin Street, Brighouse'Pictured from left are Winnie Holt, Jean Austwick, Katleen Fletcher, Barbara Rice, John Walton and Eva Bancroft - seated.
Companions club to fold after 58 years as helpers are not being replaced by younger people.'St Joseph's Church Hall, Martin Street, Brighouse'Pictured from left are Winnie Holt, Jean Austwick, Katleen Fletcher, Barbara Rice, John Walton and Eva Bancroft - seated.

A SOCIAL group which is set to fold was not just a club, it was more about companionship, according to its members.

And to mark its 58 years in existence members of Brighouse Good Companion’s Club held a party.

The decision to close was not an easy one, says secretary Barbara Rice, but with a decrease in the number of members over the last few years and with only three committee members they were left with no choice.

“It is a sad time. I feel as though I will be losing a lot of friends because I won’t see them as much,” said Mrs Rice. “When you have been here week in, week out, and helped to organise things it’s going to be hard.”

Mrs Rice, 70, who lives in Bradford, has been attending the club for about 20 years and joined when she was 51.

“My auntie was a member and she was in her 80s. I was put down on the list to help but it wasn’t long before I was asked to join the committee,” she said.

Mrs Rice’s husband, Malcolm Rice, is also a member. “It is a pity it is having to close but the main reason is there is no one to run it,” he said.

John Walton, of Brighouse has been a member for 25 years. The 91-year-old, who attends with his wife, Joyce, is one of three men at the group and is often seen playing the piano.

“It is a pleasure coming here because they are your friends,” he said. “When we first came we had to go on a waiting list but it wasn’t for long. We had three times as many members back then.”

Treasurer Kathleen Fletcher, has been a member for 28 years. “It is a shame but numbers are going down. We shall all miss it because it was about the companionship. Maybe if we had had some more volunteers we could have managed,” she said.

Jean Robinson is one of the newest members. The 67-year-old, who lives in the Woodhouse area of Brighouse, said she joined for the company.

“I was widowed and I had no where else to go. I went to Brighouse Rest Centre to see what was happening and members Jean Ogden and Pat Mallinson invited me to join them. That is when they told me about the Companions and how they attended the rest centre. Then they went to the Companions afterwards and made an afternoon of it,” she said. “I loved it. It is a shame it is closing.”

Mary Shaw, 75, travels from Wheatley, Halifax, to attend the club. She said that she was sad it was no longer going to be there.

Eva Bancroft, who was one of the founder members in 1953, brought in old photographs and the hymn which used to be sung at every meeting. “It has only been in the last month I haven’t been able to attend but I have some fond memories.”

The last meeting of Brighouse Good Companions will be held on March 30.