HUNDREDS of county pensioners were brought together for an Easter treat.
Midlands Co-operative Society’s Corby branch organised two parties at the Best Western Rockingham Forest Hotel for 600 pensioners from residential homes, groups and churches.
Jean Cooksley, who retired as regional manager from the funeral directors last year, returned to organise the parties, which also includes another two at Christmas, for her 24th year.
She said: “This is one of many types of events we organise in the local community, and it is always very popular with our local pensioners.
“Really it’s to put something back in to the community – that’s how it started.
“Over the years you get to know so many people. Sometimes for some it’s the only time they come out, especially at Christmas. We have made lots of friends.
“One year a gentleman came for the first time, who has passed away now, who actually met his best man from 40 years ago – it was lovely.”
She added: “We have some people here aged 87 and 89 who are always up dancing and putting us to shame.”
The first party took place on Friday with the second taking place today.
The pensioners are also given free transport to the venue and a free three-course meal with glass of wine and entertainment.
An Easter bonnet competition, which awarded prizes to the best, also proved a hit.
Richard Tilley, funeral service manager at the Corby branch, said: “I would just like to thank Jean for all the effort put in to arrange all this for the families. It’s great to see them all up dancing.”
Among those enjoying the party atmosphere on Friday was Betty Walton, 83, of Attley Court, Wellingbrough.
She said: “The food is very nice and the entertainment is first class.”
Moreen Boyle, 78, also of Attley Court, who has attended the parties for eight years, said: “It’s excellent. Everyone is very friendly and you always see familiar faces. They have never let us down.”
Thomas Duggan, 67, attended from Wilby Working Men’s Club.
Mr Duggan said: “It’s very good. I smoke so I see the same faces outside every year – it’s like a reunion.”