Closing the Circle at North Walsham

Richard BatsonA women's club has written the last chapter in a proud history of friendship and community work - but there are hopes of a sequel.North Walsham Ladies Circle has closed due to falling membership having been formed in 1964 as part of the international movement for the wives and partners of Round Tablers.Richard Batson

A women's club has written the last chapter in a proud history of friendship and community work - but there are hopes of a sequel.

North Walsham Ladies' Circle has closed due to falling membership having been formed in 1964 as part of the international movement for the wives and partners of Round Tablers.

The last handful of Circlers were joined by former members for a dinner marking the end of an era and to celebrate more than 40 years of achievements.

National president Lynda Wieland said she hoped it was just a "hibernation" rather than a closure, and that the club would revive in a few years' time. Around the country 10 clubs had either revived or started from new this year.


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North Walsham Circle's highlights included sending 18 packing crates of surplus medical equipment, gathered from local hospitals and surgeries, to a Romanian orphanage 14 years ago.

It also made a new national Circle banner in 1990, when club members spent a year designing then doing the intricate needlework for the piece of regalia, helped by local heraldic flag and banner maker Penny Knee. It returned to North Walsham, with the national president, as a backdrop to the proceedings at the Beechwood Hotel.

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During the past year a Sax on the Lawn outdoor jazz event raised �700 for the Benjamin Foundation, whcih helps young homeless people. And members slept out on the streets of Norwich overnight to discover what it was like being homeless.

Chairman Jenny Harmer said the closure was sad, but the club would live on through the banner, which has members' names and the North Walsham town clock embroidered on the back.

The remaining cash in the club's charity kitty, amounting to about �300, will be spent on a seat bearing Circle's name in the Memorial Park. And the remaining money will be given to the national president's charity supporting those with Rett Syndrome, which is a neurological disorder.

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