Alnwick Stroke Club celebrates its 40th birthday

Alnwick Stroke Club members and volunteers at the  40th anniversary coffee morning at St Paul's Court. ' Picture by Jane Coltman
Alnwick Stroke Club members and volunteers at the 40th anniversary coffee morning at St Paul's Court. ' Picture by Jane Coltman

An Alnwick club devoted to helping people who have had a stroke has celebrated its 40th birthday this week.

A party to mark the occasion was held in the same room where it all began back in February 1979.

Alnwick Stroke Club secretary Jen Hall with Donna Stott from the Stroke Association, club chairman George Stokoe and treasurer Micki Biddle at the 40th anniversary coffee morning at St Paul's Court. ' Picture by Jane Coltman

Alnwick Stroke Club secretary Jen Hall with Donna Stott from the Stroke Association, club chairman George Stokoe and treasurer Micki Biddle at the 40th anniversary coffee morning at St Paul's Court. ' Picture by Jane Coltman

The Alnwick Stroke Club was started by Joan Pringle at St Paul’s Court sheltered housing, off Prudhoe Street, and it has met there every Tuesday from 10am to 2pm ever since.

Members of the club, which is affiliated to the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) and the Stroke Association, celebrated in the only way they know how – with a free coffee morning to thank the Anchor Housing residents for ‘putting up with us using their lounge for 40 years’, as club chairman George Stokoe put it!

The group was started as a ‘speech after stroke’ club and Joan welcomed six members and 10 volunteers to its first meeting. It was three WRVS volunteers, Annice, Mig and Margaret, who changed the set-up to its present format as a club for anyone who has been disabled through stroke and living in north Northumberland.

Over the last 20 years, membership has risen to a maximum of 17, being transported from their homes in Seahouses, Belford, Thropton, Amble, Alnmouth, Longhoughton, Embleton, as well as Alnwick.

Birthday wishes: Alnwick Stroke Club 40th anniversary coffee morning at St Paul's Court where celebration cake was cut by Helen Clark and Annice Waddell. ' Picture by Jane Coltman

Birthday wishes: Alnwick Stroke Club 40th anniversary coffee morning at St Paul's Court where celebration cake was cut by Helen Clark and Annice Waddell. ' Picture by Jane Coltman

George said: “Our membership at present is much lower, but the costs of running the club, particularly the transport, has increased to £6,000 a year.

“We receive no financial support from Government and are indebted to individuals and groups locally for their continued support. I would like to thank the many volunteers at the club, past and present, for their dedication.”

At Tuesday’s party, at which a special birthday cake was cut, George gave special mention to the Anchor Housing residents and the carers and relatives of Stroke Club members for their support over the years.

He also said the club had vacancies for anyone who has been disabled by stroke and is also looking for a volunteer treasurer and secretary.

The celebration cake was cut by Helen Clark and Annice Waddell watched by Rotary Club president Barbara Reid, Simon Pringle whose mother Joan was a founder of the club, chairman George Stokoe and Mayor Alan Symmonds.   Picture by Jane Coltman

The celebration cake was cut by Helen Clark and Annice Waddell watched by Rotary Club president Barbara Reid, Simon Pringle whose mother Joan was a founder of the club, chairman George Stokoe and Mayor Alan Symmonds. Picture by Jane Coltman