Loyal supporters and old friends were among visitors at a coffee morning organised by two charities in Heathfield on Saturday.
Among the guests of Age UK’s Heathfield Community Club and Abbeyfield South Downs – who provide sheltered accommodation for older people – was a former Abbeyfield trustee, Brian Redman, who has just begun a term as chairman of Wealden District Council.
Cllr Redman and his wife Dr Daveda Redman were both trustees for about ten years at Holdenhurst in Mill Road, Heathfield. Dr Redman also looked after residents when she was a GP practising just across the road from the sheltered house.
Cllr Redman said he had great admiration for the charity: “It is a voluntary organisation which is full of caring people who give their time to help others. I will continue to support Abbeyfield in any way I can.”
Also among the guests were 90-year-old Dorothy Seve, who was matron at Holdenhurst for 16 years, and Della Humber, who was deputy matron for nine years at a different time. Della currently helps on Fridays at the community club at Holdenhurst.
Jill Beach knew Holdenhurst because her husband Roy had spent some time there and “thought it was the best place ever”. She has been a volunteer with Age Concern for 23 years and helps serve lunches once a fortnight at the Union Church in Heathfield.
Jo Foot, who chairs the Abbeyfield South Downs house committee at Holdenhurst, said the coffee morning was a great success.
“The Heathfield Community Club and Abbeyfield South Downs both work to help people in later life and it was good to come together like this to put on a happy event.”
Age UK East Sussex runs the Heathfield Community Club twice a week at Holdenhurst on Tuesdays and Fridays, offering friendship and the chance to meet other people, but also organises activities, outings, celebrations and fun events.
Abbeyfield was founded by Richard Carr-Gomm - Britain’s first male home help - in 1956. Shocked at the isolation of many old people he visited he resigned his Coldstream Guards commission and bought a house in Bermondsey, South London, inviting two local residents who’d been living alone, to join him. This was the first Abbeyfield.