Kensal Green pensioners club celebrates its 30th anniversary

Kind hearted Norman, 89, refuses to stepdown from running club he set-up 30-years ago

A KIND hearted 89-year-old celebrated the 30th anniversary of a pensioners club he set-up to support his community.

Norman Mitchell, who turns 90 this month, started the West Indian Senior Citizens’ Organisation after seeing elderly people struggling on their own.

Mr Mitchell marked the occasion with a service and lunch at St Marks Church, in Bathurst Gardens, Kensal Green, with friends and dignitaries including the High Commissioner for Jamaica, Anthony Smith Johnson.

Mr Mitchell, who is the oldest member at WISC, said of the day: “It was wonderful, really great and the service was fantastic.”

The club puts on excursions, exercise classes, lunches and good company.

Mr Mitchell said: “We used to do painting and sewing but the people who ran it died or moved away but we hope to start doing that again.”

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During the club’s 30-year stretch, Mr Mitchell has seen 59 members pass away but takes it upon himself to help families out with their bereavement and funeral arrangements.

The cheerful octogenarian said: “The people who started the club with me are nearly all dead now but when one dies two more join. It is very, very popular.”

Mr Mitchell was prompted into action 30 years ago after telling family about elderly neighbours with health issues struggling by themselves.

He said: “I was sitting in my front room and someone said ‘get up and start a club’. So I went round the streets and knocked on peoples’ doors and said ‘I’m starting a club’ and invited people to my house; 13 people came and we planned it out.”

“We set it up so there was a member from each street so they could check on vulnerable people and tell the secretary.

We didn’t get any funding, so when we started someone brought sugar and someone else bread but we always had enough.”

Despite his age, Mr Mitchell says he will continue to run the club until he can find a suitable replacement.

However, Marlon Nelson, the community development officer at St Mark’s Church, said: “I have tried to get him to step down but he won’t. Good luck to anyone who tried to wrest responsibility from him, but it keeps him going.”