Twenty years of the Young at Heart Club

Photo of Christine Baylis cutting the 20th anniversary cake.

Members of Bradley Stoke’s popular Young at Heart Club gathered at Christ the King Church on Thursday 22nd August for a party to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary.

In this article, club members Josie Hadden and Brenda Capel look back at the history of one of the town’s oldest institutions…

In March 1999, Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre placed an advertisement in the local paper asking for local people to form a club for the over 50s. Bradley Stoke was still a relatively new town at this time and there was a lack of provision for social groups. Around nine people, including Brenda Caple and her husband, turned up for the initial meeting to discuss the setting up of this club.

The leisure centre offered us the use of a room rent free and the provision of tea and coffee also free of charge, for a period of six months, after which time a decision would be taken as to whether or not the club would continue.

The following week, several other people turned up keen to join the club, amongst others Jean Seagar.

Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre introduced us to a lady from Yate who had many years’ experience of running clubs with the aim of her assisting us in the process of setting up the club and the associated requirements. These included the need to form a committee consisting of chair, vice chair, treasurer, secretary etc. Jim Adams was voted in as the first chairman and held the role for many years. The other roles were duly filled. The club now needed a name and Jean Seagar came up with the name ‘Young at Heart”. The club was now ready to move on with the weekly meetings.

The lady from Yate advised Jean that in connection with the committee she would need to think of weekly activities to fill the diary for three months in advance – not an easy task! However, she did show us her own diary so that we get some ideas of what activities to aim for.

In the early weeks, members spent the time getting acquainted with each other and were quite happy to share their personal experiences with the other members e.g. what jobs they held prior to retiring and where they lived before landing in Bradley Stoke etc. Many an interesting story was told. Amazingly, more often than not by the end of the afternoon no one was ready to leave as the weekly meetings were proving to be very enjoyable and fun. Jean was often heard saying, “Come on let’s be having you – have you no homes to go to?”

Fred, Dennis, Bill Morris and Mike Capel were always to be found in the kitchen doing the washing up and after tea there would be lots of banter coming from that direction.

As the weeks went by, more people came along to join the club which grew from strength to strength to the club we enjoy today. We now enjoy a full programme of activities all year round. These are varied and include games, quizzes, speakers and musical entertainers. From April onwards, coach trips are organised to the seaside, garden centres, historical and other places of interest. The club still has a committee, ably led as chairman by Christine, who meet formally once per month and control the activities of the membership, who are encouraged to make suggestions and proposals to keep the club active.

The venue eventually changed from the leisure centre to the Jubilee Centre (Blue Hut) and then to the Christ the King Church, where it has now been meeting for over ten years.

Some of the original members still attend the club, some in their 90s!

Speaking to the Journal, Brian Hewitt MBE, a relatively new member of just five months standing, said the 20th birthday event was very well attended, adding:

“Everybody said they enjoyed themselves, the entertainer was very good and hit all the ‘right notes’ to keep everyone happy and amused.”

If you would like to hear more about the club and membership, please speak to one of our founder members, Brenda Capel, on 01454 615963.

The Young at Heart Club is a very popular and well attended club and is presently at full capacity. Anyone wishing to join will need to be added to a waiting list. The advice from the club is “please apply to join and have your name on the list”.

Photo: Club chair Christine Baylis cuts the 20th anniversary cake.

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 28 & 29). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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