Midhurst transport charity celebrates huge 40th anniversary milestone

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A Midhurst-based charity which provides transport to doctors, hospital and dentist appointments for older and less mobile people, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Starting in 1983, the charity has since expanded to also provide a schedule of interesting and varied outings for older people throughout the year, as well as regular meet-ups and gatherings.

The intent, volunteers say, is to combat social isolation and loneliness, as well as giving older or less able residents access to vital services like GPs and hospitals.

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The 40th anniversary celebration took place in the Marquee at The Royal Oak in Midhurst on June 28. With 63 people in attendance, the event was a great opportunity to look back on four decades of hard work, with volunteers, members, customers and special guests like the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex in tow.

Tandem's 40th anniversary. Photo: Tandem Midhurst.Tandem's 40th anniversary. Photo: Tandem Midhurst.
Tandem's 40th anniversary. Photo: Tandem Midhurst.

There was cake, live entertainment and words of thanks from the Deputy Lord lieutenant and new chairman Stuart Fraser.

For Rebecca Piper, who has been secretary of Tandem for the last six years, the story of the 40th anniversary is one of hard work and survival against the odds.

"It’s wonderful that we’re still going. We get some grants, but we mostly survive off legacies and donations and wills. And we’ve done that for forty years. We’ve been around for a very long time and we’re still doing what we’re doing – in fact we’re doing even more now,” she said.

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Users of the service, who do not have to be tandem members, can board the buses for a small fee, which helps keep the volunteer-led service afloat; staving off petrol and upkeep costs. These services, Rebecca said, make a huge difference to the lives of those who use them.

Cutting the cake at Tandem's 40th anniversary. Photo: Tandem Midhurst.Cutting the cake at Tandem's 40th anniversary. Photo: Tandem Midhurst.
Cutting the cake at Tandem's 40th anniversary. Photo: Tandem Midhurst.

"We run a Tuesday Club where people can come along, play board games, have a chat and a cup of tea or a piece of cake – and for some people that’s the only time they get out in the week. It’s combatting loneliness, which is a really big thing.

"And some of the people who use our medical transport service would not be able to get to the doctors or hospital without us.”

To find out more about Tandem, visit tandem-midhurst.co.uk

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