Retiring couple to close local handicapped club

Newbattle Handicapped Club volunteers. 
 Back row from left to right :
Liz Ross,Margaret Dorans, Marion Burnett
Front row from Left to Right
Eliza Richardson,John Dorans,Alan Davis. Missing  from the picture are volunteer drivers  Mark Todd. Ian Robertson and Lee Grieve.
Newbattle Handicapped Club volunteers. Back row from left to right : Liz Ross,Margaret Dorans, Marion Burnett Front row from Left to Right Eliza Richardson,John Dorans,Alan Davis. Missing from the picture are volunteer drivers Mark Todd. Ian Robertson and Lee Grieve.

A weekly club for handicapped people set-up 35 years ago will end in December after one of the founders decided it was time to retire.

Margaret Dorrans (67) helped start Newbattle Handicapped Club in 1982 and was joined by her husband John (66) two years later. The couple tried and failed to get someone to take on the group and have organised a farewell dinner party on December 6 at the Dean Tavern, Newtongrange.

John said: “We are closing because we are too old now, we are over the hill.

“Everybody else involved is in the same frame of mind.

“We did contact the volunteer bureau with a summary of what we needed but never got anywhere. You need a whole group coming in not just one person.

“We feel like we have done our bit and the volunteers feel the same, they have been with us for many years.”

John admitted that it will be emotional when the group comes to an end.

He said: “It has been a really good club. The comradeship has been fantastic between the volunteers and the members.

“There will be a few tears on December 6. The last night will be the party night, that’s us finished after that.

“It will be a good party, with not just the handicapped people we have helped going, but also the volunteers we have had over the years. I reckon there will be about 50 people there. There are actually two people coming up from Liverpool.”

The club currently caters for 13 handicapped people and has nine volunteers including three drivers. John admitted it was tough to break the news to them.

“That was the sad thing about it, there was a few tears when we told them. We have probably had hundreds of handicapped people over the years. It’s sad for us but we have to do it, we have no option, we are too old.

“We have just got to pay the bills and that’s it closed.”

John thanked everyone for the support the club received over the years which allowed the club to continue.

He said: “We have been self funding apart from £200 a year from the council and we had free let at Gorebridge Primary School.

“There have been a lot of people giving us donations over the years.

“My old work Letts held a Christmas raffle every year that raised a lot of money. They have been really good to us

“And there were two couples who gave us the money they got for their birthday every year.”