Help save Earby’s luncheon club

A last ditch appeal has been launched for a new cook which would allow Earby’s popular Over-50s luncheon club to continue.

Current chef Rosemary Biggin finished as cook after six years on Friday.

Chef Rosemary Biggin who has cooked her last meal for Earby's Over-50s luncheon club.  David Hartley is looking for a replacement chef so the club can continue.

Chef Rosemary Biggin who has cooked her last meal for Earby's Over-50s luncheon club. David Hartley is looking for a replacement chef so the club can continue.

With only interest and no solid replacement at this stage, a decision has been made for there to be no further luncheon club gatherings until a successor has been found.

The hugely successful club was founded more than 30 years ago by Dr Alison Evans’s father as a charitable group for the poor and has since only had two other cooks between Mr Evans and Mrs Biggin: Mavis Tingle and the late Rev. Malcolm King.

Mrs Biggin said: “I remember my first day. A few people said to cook for 25 people and 43 turned up. It all went around. We had a wonderful time.

“I took it on when Malcolm was ill. I thought it shouldn’t fade because he was ill.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I tell everybody that it’s not been hard work, it’s my hobby.

“It brings social interaction, it brings a good meal, home cooking, but I think most importantly it gets people out.”

And to potential candidates she added: “You’ll get more out of it than what you give. They’ve got a wonderful team of helpers. Just have a go. I’ve enjoyed it, every minute.”

David Hartley said: “We’re very sad to see Rosemary go but she’s decided to make a new start in Scotland.

“The club means an awful lot to some people. Over-50s are welcome and people get to over 100 and they’re still coming. We have over 40 most weeks so you can tell it’s important.

“I’m desperate for somebody to come forward and offer. The problem is it’s not profit making.

“Any profits go back into the group itself which pays for the Christmas dinner which is free and various other little treats for the people who come.

“It requires a particular kind of person who is willing to serve the community.”

Regulars at the luncheon club tuck into a two-course meal for £4 and on the menu on Friday was a braised beef dinner with all the trimmings followed by apple pie and custard and coffee or tea.

Two of the 34 who attended on Friday said the club was more than just being about the food.

Earby’s Betty Brayshaw, has been going to the luncheon club for 11 years. She said: “It means a lot really, it’s a meeting place for people.

“You see people here every week and the food is good. For what we pay its excellent.

“And for the people who can’t walk to get here there’s a minibus. Graham the driver is brilliant.”

Francis Forrest, also of Earby, has been coming for two years.

He said: “It’s been great for me. The food is excellent and we are well looked after.

“It would be a big loss to the people of Earby if it had to close.”