IT WAS facing closure because of a lack of volunteers.

But after an appeal in the Oxford Mail, the New Marston 50-Plus Club is looking forward to a brighter future after new helpers came forward.

Pat Mabbutt, who is in her 70s, has been running the club for 15 years. But since the summer, when she made the difficult decision to stand down, she has been looking for new volunteers to take over.

In October, Mrs Mabbutt, from Kennington, made an appeal in the Oxford Mail for new blood.

And last Thursday as she said an emotional but happy farewell to the club, she handed over the reins to new committee members, Oxford city councillor Mary Clarkson and Poppy Hughes, who have volunteered to share her duties and keep the club running with existing chairman Bette Martin.

Mrs Clarkson, a Labour councillor for Marston, said: “I became aware of the club 15 years ago when I first started as a councillor and have seen it become very popular and a lifeline for many peo ple.

“When Pat said she was retiring I wanted to help more, even though I knew I could not take it all on. It’s a fantastic club.”

Poppy Hughes, 61, from Headington, said: “My mother Connie Squires, who is 90, started attending the club two years ago and it has been an absolute lifeline for her, providing a lovely environment to spend time in and new friends.”

The club meets every Thursday from 2.15pm to 4.15pm at the Pastoral Centre in Jack Straw’s Lane, New Marston. About 45 members, many with mobility problems, enjoy weekly speakers or musical performances with a chat and a cup of tea.

To help out at the club contact Mrs Hughes on 07906 651620.