THEY say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and that is certainly the case at Denton North East Luncheon Club.
The once-a-month luncheon club at Victoria Park Community Centre, which is run by councillors Denise Ward and Vincent Ricci, remains as popular as ever.
It is a meeting place for the community, especially the elderly and those who are alone and isolated, though it is not exclusively for them with youngsters sometimes accompanying grandparents.
“It is mainly attended by the elderly but we don’t turn away anybody,” explained Cllr Ricci who along with the late Cllr Martin Wareing came up with the idea.
In the seven years since it was launched numbers have more than doubled with 140 servings at the latest lunch which is always on the last Thursday of the month.
“The lunch isn’t supposed to start until noon but people were arriving from just before 11am,” explained Cllr Ward who makes the meat and potato and cheese and onion pies while there is apple crumble and custard or ice cream and strawberries for desert along with tea and coffee.
The cost of £3.50 also includes a raffle ticket and game of bingo. And the surplus is put towards the pensioners’ Christmas party at Denton Labour Club which costs £800 to stage and which is free of charge for the 125 residents.
Mike Hanson, 71, who lives on his own in Denton, enjoys both the food and the company.
He also attends similar events at Denton Methodist Church, St Lawrence’s Church and Christ Church.
Mike said: “I am sure for some people on their own it is the only time they get a proper meal. When you get older you often don’t have the patience or inclination to cook.
“If you cook for someone else you tend to cook the best while by myself I tend to skip meals and neglect myself.”
Mike, who used to work as a machinist and in electronics, also spoke about the social element.
He continued: “It gets me out of the house. I tell others on their own about the luncheon club but it is hard to persuade some to come along.
“Young people may think they are only for pensioners, but that is not the case. And just because you don’t go to church doesn’t mean you are not welcome.”
Mike, a keen amateur photographer, added there are plenty of activities to keep pensioners active.
He attends a reading group at Denton Library and used to attend a sculpture one at Oldham Library.