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Patrick House hosts festive celebrations for Leigh Ladies’ Luncheon Club and local veterans


Leigh Ladies’ Luncheon Club has hosted this year’s Christmas lunch at Patrick House, as valued guests of Compassion in Action.

Ladies from across Leigh and its districts gathered for turkey with all the trimmings followed by a selection of festive puddings, with entertainment provided by Wigan-based vocalist Ricky Birchall.

“It’s been a lovely afternoon,” said Events Coordinator Margaret Worsley, who dined alongside her fellow Club Committee member Kathleen Simpson.

“We love coming to Patrick House, as it’s always so lovely and clean. Our members are very comfortable here and nothing is too much trouble for the staff. I have been friends with Pam Gilligan, the charity’s CEO, since year dot, and her team have given us some wonderful occasions this year – including a talk from the former Lady Mayoress and a party for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This year’s festive dinner was the perfect way to round off 2022.”

With a heritage of more than 30 years, Leigh Ladies’ Luncheon Club had 60 members in its heyday, as well as a waiting list. Today, and following several sad losses, there are around 25 members – some of whom are in their nineties. Interest is welcomed from new members who are looking for company and friendship.

“During the pandemic, we kept in touch on the telephone and saw each other out and about shopping – getting together for the occasional dinner when the rules allowed for it,” said Kathleen, who has been the Club’s Treasurer since 2004.

“Of course, it’s much better now we can get together in person. Slowly but surely, we are starting to go on trips again. The money raised from the raffles organised by our members Christine and June helps towards the cost of the coach.

‘Margaret and I have been on some wonderful trips over the years – including with other Luncheon Clubs to places such as Israel. We both joined the club 27 years ago shortly after we had both been widowed. We tell each other like it is – there is no need for airs and graces between good friends – and we can have a laugh together.”

One of the regular features of the Luncheon Club’s monthly gatherings is a talk by a guest speaker. Margaret said this helps to keep the group together after lunch and the ladies enjoy the chance to hear from people who come from all walks of life: “Memorably, we had a talk from a lady about the Crown Jewels, who also spoke to us about old-fashioned underwear! We don’t mind what the topic is if it’s interesting.

‘Kathleen and I will be getting together in January to plan next year’s talks and trips, which I am already looking forward to.”

Pam Gilligan raised a toast to the ladies following their festive lunch – adding: “I am so thankful to you for your friendship and support. Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Enquiries about Leigh Ladies’ Luncheon Club should be directed in the first instance to Compassion in Action on 01942 418830.

Double birthday celebrations at veterans’ annual Christmas Lunch 

An ex-serviceman who attends Compassion in Action’s weekly veterans’ brunch celebrated turning 90 at the group’s annual Christmas Lunch.

Pam Gilligan raised a toast to Dennis and led a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday to You!’ as a special cake was presented to him.

Gwen Appleton, Community Champion at Asda Leigh, also received cards and gifts in advance of her landmark birthday next week.

The double birthday celebrations were the highlight of the event, which included a full Christmas dinner prepared and served by the charity’s catering team.

“I would like to raise a toast to our veterans – our valued friends – who have found community and companionship at Patrick House every week for the past six years,” said Pam, who was joined by Keith Stott from the Royal British Legion’s Tyldesley branch.

“We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year.”

Entertainment was once again provided by Ricky Birchall, who sang a medley of festive favourites throughout the event.

In 2019, Compassion in Action was presented with a Bronze Award in the Employer Recognition Scheme run by the Armed Forces Covenant. The award acknowledges employers who have provided exceptional support to the armed forces community and defence by going above and beyond their Covenant pledges.

To find out more about the veterans’ weekly brunch for ex-armed forces and members of the Royal British Legion, contact Compassion in Action on 01942 418830.

Pam Gilligan raises a toast at the Leigh Ladies’ Luncheon Club

Kathleen Simpson and Margaret Worsley

Valued guests joined CIA for Christmas lunch

Company and friendship have sustained Leigh Ladies’ Luncheon Club for more than 30 years

Veterans raise a birthday toast to Asda Community Champion Gwen Appleton

Dennis celebrating his 90th birthday

Gwen Appleton took part in her early birthday celebrations with Pam Gilligan

Pam Gilligan is pictured with Keith Stott