Published: 06:00, 17 August 2021
| Updated: 09:04, 17 August 2021
More than 40 friends have been able to meet after 500 days apart.
The members of Cinque Ports Warden Oddfellows branch had moved their social events online for 18 months due to the pandemic.
But the friendly society returned to normality with a Welcome Back lunch at the Oddfellows’ Hall in Pencester Road, Dover, on Wednesday, July 28.
More face to face events are planned from now on.
Lifelong member John Wickenden said: “My wife Barbara and I have been members of the Oddfellows for our whole lives and never has the building been empty for so long.
It was absolutely wonderful to be back. The whole place was buzzing: it’s like life had been breathed back into it.”
He added: “The Oddfellows has done an excellent job keeping everyone going during the pandemic with regular telephone calls and online events. But there’s nothing quite like being back in the hall, laughing and hugging again.”
Another lifelong branch member, Cynthia Tucker, from Deal, said: “To see a full calendar of Oddfellow events to look forward to again is fantastic.”
The Oddfellows is a friendly society that provides members with social, care and financial benefits, as well as organising regular events and socials. The Cinque Ports Warden branch, which covers Dover and Deal, has been running for almost 200 years.
Charmaine Pitchford,branch social organiser said: “It’s been a long year, and whilst our online events have been a huge hit with our members, many have been excited for our face-to-face events to restart.
"We’re so pleased to now be able to host some of our members’ favourite events again.”
Upcoming social events include a coffee morning tomorrow (Wednesday) and Barbara’s Lunch Club on Monday, September 6, at the Dover Marina Hotel & Spa on Dover seafront.
To book a visit or to find out more about Cinque Ports Warden Oddfellows’ branch contact Ms Pitchford on 01304 202556, or email Charmaine.Pitchford@oddfellows.co.uk or Jan.Reading@oddfellows.co.uk.