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Drayton-based club Facing It Together for widows and widowers celebrates silver milestone

PUBLISHED: 17:14 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:14 14 September 2017

The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary. Chairman Maureen Madden, front left, and longest serving member, Ann Purnell, hold the cake. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary. Chairman Maureen Madden, front left, and longest serving member, Ann Purnell, hold the cake. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

It is a group which has brought friendship and fun into the lives of people who have lost their life partners.

The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary as members enjoy some food and chat. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary as members enjoy some food and chat. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

And now the Drayton branch of Facing It Together (Fit) has marked 20 years of bringing together widows and widowers, regardless of age.

Many of the group’s 60 members made it along to a celebration at Drayton Village Hall today, where they meet regularly to listen to guest speakers, enjoy entertainment, share meals and a have a friendly chat.

Ann Purnell, one of the original members of the group, was presented with a bunch of flowers and other members clapped and cheered as she cut a specially-made anniversary cake.

Maureen Madden, 75, club chairman, said she was delighted the group had reached its silver milestone.

The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary as members enjoy some food and chat. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary as members enjoy some food and chat. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mrs Madden said: “The first meeting was on September 11, 1997, and it was opened by June Sutton, who was our first president.

“She now lives in Derby, and we would like her to know just how grateful we all are for starting the club up.”

Mrs Madden said her husband, Richard, died eight-and-a-half years ago aged 63.

She said the joining Facing it Together had made a world of difference and had given her a new lease on life.

The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary as members enjoy some food and chat. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary as members enjoy some food and chat. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mrs Madden said: “We were married for 45 years. I was quite upset after he died and I needed to have counselling, and a friend of mine told me about the group.

“Once you get to the stage that you can talk about things it makes so much difference.

“You can’t just sit at home. You have to get out and join in things.”

The Drayton branch is the largest of Norfolk’s three Facing it Together groups, with the others in Eaton and Aylsham.

The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary. Chairman Maureen Madden, right, and longest serving member, Ann Purnell, chat over a cup of tea. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The Face It Together (FIT) group at Drayton for widows and widowers, celebrate their 20th anniversary. Chairman Maureen Madden, right, and longest serving member, Ann Purnell, chat over a cup of tea. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

They meet on Thursday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm each fortnight, and also organise outings across Norfolk and beyond, and have a party in December.

Speakers at their meetings have included everything from beekeepers to charity representatives, historians and a wing commander.

More women attend than men, but Mrs Madden they were hoping to attract more male members.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the group can call Mrs Madden on 01603 868924

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