A LONG-standing Pickering lunch club that has been unable to meet due to Covid-19 has donated more than £600 to the Ryedale Community Kitchen.

The lunch club, which has met at the Hungate Centre for the last 25 years, was hit by the Royal Voluntary Service decision to close the building last year, followed by a second blow from the pandemic.

Lunch club leader Daphne Bowes said: “After so many long and happy years, we have decided to close the lunch club. Without a base to meet and now with the ongoing situation with the pandemic, we just can’t see when we will be able to get going again, so we have decided to give our remaining funds to Community Smart who are running the Community Kitchen.

“The Kitchen has been a lifeline for so many people in the last few months and there are definitely lots of people who will benefit from it continuing as there are still a lot of people around who are worried about going out shopping. The meals from the Community Kitchen make it so much easier for them."

She added: “We would like to say a huge thank you to all the people who have helped the Lunch Club for so many years – our volunteers, the speakers and our entertainers who made such a difference to attendees’ enjoyment of the weekly lunches. We couldn’t have done it without them and we are really grateful for the part they played in making things a success.”

The Lunch Club was set up in 1995 by Harold Dixon and allowed older residents from the Pickering area to meet up for lunch, followed by a speaker or an activity. The club also organised trips out to the coast or the theatre.