In a small hall near the main shopping centre in Marton is the Friendship Club held every week.

A club which attracts around 40 keen members on Fridays at 2pm eager for a chat, some entertainment and a slap-up afternoon tea.

President Wendy Lee said the club has been going for 53 years.

"I've only been the president this year which I'm enjoying immensely," said Wendy.

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Last week as members settled in at the trestle tables chatted to friends and called hello to aquaintances at nearby tables, Wendy told them what the entertainment was for the day.

She then took a vote on how long the club should close down over the Christmas period.

"Generally the club closes for six weeks over Christmas but I think we should vote on it. I believe we could close for a couple of weeks then open again. There would be no entertainment during those January weeks but you're very welcome to come on in for a couple of hours, have a cup of tea, meet up with each other and maybe play cards or something."

When Wendy asked for a show of hands there was a resounding roar of applause for the
club to stay open and not close for six weeks.

"Right then come on in through January the hall will be open,"' she said.

"I love to come here and see everyone. I look forward to it every Friday,'' said Jennifer Hawkins.

"The club is so good especially as most of us live on our own,''Audrey Thomson said. Audrey aged 90 lives in a reitrement village.

She used to write letters to the Editor of the Chronicle.

"One week I won letter of the week I was very proud. ''

Audrey said she doesn't really feel 90 it had sort "crept up''on her.

"I still try to do quite a lot.''

Annie Ngauu said she is the official tea lady.

"It's my job and I like it very much.''

Rosa Velvin aged 96 said she misses club days.

"More than 50 years ago I came here from Austria and I opened two hair salons in Marton.

"I got to know everyone here. I still know most people here this is a good town.''

Jean McFarlane is the entertainment officer.

"I'm always on the look out for good music and singers for the club."

Wendy said the end of year club day will include a do-it-youself vaudeville routine.

"I'm looking forward to it. You can bet there will be some great acts.''