Laughter – and smiles as bright as the spring sunshine – were the hallmarks of a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon out for a dozen elderly members of the St John’s community on Saturday 18 April.
The trip to the Woodlands Garden Centre (just outside Stapleton) was organised by the church’s CAMEO group (Come And Meet Each Other), headed up by Pioneer Ministers, Keith and Judith Ellis.
And the results exceeded expectations.
“We know a lot of older people have difficulty getting out to places like Woodlands,” commented Judith. “And we also know the weekends can be lonely times for many, particularly widows and widowers who don’t have family living nearby.
“So we took a small party to the garden centre, where they were able to chat, enjoy a cup of tea and have a leisurely look around at the plants, flowers and many other garden-related products on sale.
“In truth, we simply wanted to get people together so they could get to know each other a bit better – and build on the event we held in March, which was the first time everyone had come together and CAMEO was born.”
From the moment everyone came together on Saturday, chuckles and belly laughs could be heard ringing around the area of the Woodlands restaurant where the CAMEO contingent were camped.
“Everyone just got on like a house on fire,” added Judith. “There was no pressure on anyone to do anything, other than simply enjoy themselves. And that’s exactly what they did.”
Arthur Mellor, from Stoke Golding, spoke for all when he said: “It’s so nice to be able to get out of the house and spend a few hours with people we can swap stories with and have a good laugh. Weekends can sometimes be very lonely times for elderly people, so to be part of this group is wonderful.”
And Nora Gray, from Burbage, was also delighted.
“It’s so nice to be among people who share the same interests and have the same outlook on life,” she said. “I thoroughly enjoyed myself – I don’t often get the opportunity to get out like I once did. So it’s something I really looked forward to.”
CAMEO is looking to expand the number of people attending its activities in the months ahead. If you would like more information about the group, please speak to Keith and Judith Ellis.