The board of directors of the Township of Delhi Senior Citizens Club Inc. had to make a painful decision in September to close the decades old club.
A combination of lowering membership numbers and rising membership ages made it a necessary decision, said Dennis Tyrrell, treasurer.
“The board wishes to thank all past and present members for their support,” said Tyrrell.
The club dispersed its remaining funds, which will stay in the community. Donations were made last week to the Delhi and District Historical Society ($1,000) and Delhi Sharing Pantry ($6,000).
“That was one of the big things – we know this will stay right in the community,” said Tyrrell. “And it helps people that need help.
Dec. 19 was the club’s final day.
“When it started Delhi was a township, that’s how the name got incorporated,” said Tyrrell.
The club’s roots go back to 1968. Meetings were held weekly on Tuesday afternoons. Cards and crokinole were among the activities, and lunch was served. Christmas and Valentine’s parties were held, as well as picnics and pot luck suppers.
By May 1969, it officially became the Delhi Friendship Club.
“It started off in the basement of the old library,” said Tyrrell.
Later the club was incorporated into the Delhi Township Senior Citizens Club Inc. in 1977, and they raised funds to obtain a Senior Citizens Centre, renovating the Public Works building at Queen and William Streets at a cost of $44,075, and moved into the building in 1978.
“Forty-some years ago,” nodded Dianne Ferrell, Township of Delhi Senior Citizens Club Inc.
“We looked after ourselves, we had our own funding,” said Tyrrell, “from the government and money that we raised ourselves. That’s the money we were giving out today, money we raised ourselves over the years.”
Club membership has been dropping for at least the last four years, said Tyrrell, estimating they had about 80 members at the end.
“Delhi Senior Centre’s older, they’re mostly 80-plus,” said member Mary DeRick.
“The average age was over 80,” Tyrrell nodded. “70% of them were over 80 years old.”
Tyrrell said he will fondly remember ‘meeting people’ at the club.
“If it weren’t for the Friendship Club, I never would have met them (Ferrell and DeRick),” said Tyrrell.
“The big thing the last couple of years was cards, and both of them played Mondays and Wednesdays. I played Mondays, and we had a couple guys who played pool on Tuesdays. And we had a painting class and exercise classes.”
“We tried to have a meal at least once a month,” said Ferrell. “Again, because of the age, it was hard to get volunteers to help us with the meals, to prepare them and serve them and do the dishes.”
If there is a revival of the club at some point, Tyrrell said it will likely be run by Norfolk County.