Queen honours Swardeston lunch club founder Maureen

Maureen Bond from Swardeston, who has been awarded the BEM for her work with the Dereham Road and th

Maureen Bond from Swardeston, who has been awarded the BEM for her work with the Dereham Road and the Chapel Field Luncheon Clubs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

It started as a place to give the widowed or lonely a place to come together.

Now, almost 30 years later, it remains a hub of laughter, fun and plenty of home cooked food. Maureen Bond, 74, of Cavell Close, Swardeston, started the Luncheon Club at Dereham Road Baptist Church, Norwich, in 1985 after wanting to help others.

Created for the elderly to socialise, it has grown over the 30 years, with the grandmother of six now cooking up to 50 meals every Monday.

For many, the club, now based at Chapelfield Methodist Church, in Norwich, is a life-line which punctuates a week often spent alone.

And for Mrs Bond, who lost her husband, John, in 1997, it's a place she can use her cooking skills to make traditional meals and hear the stories of many she now calls friends.

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Today she was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to the club as well as the Swardeston community.

'I absolutely love what I do,' she said.

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'So many of the elderly people have had such interesting lives and some have done some amazing things, and I like hearing their history. It really moves you.

'A lot of the people there are on their own, much of them are single people and they like coming together.'

Mrs Bond said she is overwhelmed to be honoured for her work.

'It's been so interesting doing something for other people,' she said.

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