Family-run Ipswich St Raphael Club for disabled people is still going strong after 50 years

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

A social club for disabled people which was launched in Ipswich five decades ago is still thriving today, welcoming new members and looking to expand its services.

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The St Raphael Club for the Physically Handicapped hosted a party on Saturday to celebrate its 50th anniversary, featuring a special appearance from the town’s mayor, Roger Fern.

David Tillott, whose parents Eva and Ken started the group, said members currently met twice a week, but he was looking to increase the days to account for its growing popularity.

There are now around 70 people on the books, including ex-servicemen and women.

Speaking of Saturday’s event, which was attended by more than 100 people, Mr Tillott, 79, said: “It all went exceedingly well, it was brilliant, I was so pleased and I’m sure my mum and dad looking down would have agreed.”

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

At times throughout its history, Mr Tillott said the club, which is a registered charity, had been threatened with closure.

However, Mr Tillott said he was furiously determined to keep it running, with the help of its volunteers.

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Members enjoy social get-togethers as well as activities such as flower arranging, sewing, drafts and bingo.

“Anything they want to do we will do, “ Mr Tillott added. “It’s their club so they should be able to do what they want.”

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The club, which is open to any new members and helpers, also works alongside charity ActivLives to provide gentle sporting sessions.

To get involved or for more information, call: 01473 748498.

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach

The event was well attended and included a buffet lunch and raffle. Picture: Ruth Leach