ALTHOUGH they have not been able to meet in person for much of the past year, the Ardgroom Active Retirement Group have stayed very much active, and ensured all members were supported throughout the pandemic.
The 30 strong group ranging in age from 60 to 91 embrace the word ‘active’ to its fullest meaning.
Spokeswoman Regina O’Shea, says, ‘If you join our group our promise is that we will keep you active!’ Prior to the first lockdown the group met every Thursday morning at the Caha Centre in Ardgroom Village, and participated in a range of activities in the village which included organising Christmas and spring lunches for the more senior members of the parish and meeting up with other Active Retirement Groups in the local area.
When the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, Regina says the committee’s main concern was to keep the group together and avoid the risk of loneliness, isolation and being cut-off from friends and neighbours. One initiative they came up with was a WhatsApp poetry group.
‘Every morning we would all post just a single word, on our WhatsApp group, one person in turn would then create a little poem using all the words and share it to the group, it was also a way of checking in with everyone each day,’ said Regina who fondly remembers the last poem composed by member George Twinem.
‘Sadly George passed away in August 2020. His sudden and untimely passing was a great shock to his wife Christine and family and was a tremendous loss to all his friends in the group. George was held in very high esteem, as he was always willing and readily available to help out at any function,’ she said.
The group kept busy with a variety of lockdown activities which included jam making, painting, photography and making jigsaws.
‘One of our group,’ says Regina, ‘is now affectionately known as ‘the king of the jigsaws!’
Regina outlined how the group also supported local charities: ‘Some of our ladies knitted over three hundred Easter chicks which were filled with creme eggs and donated to some very special children. Yet another of our ladies kept our local church adorned with wonderful floral arrangements on a weekly basis.’
The group is now hoping with the easing of restrictions that it won’t long until they can all meet in person and live up to the group motto which is ‘age is no barrier - you just need to be young at heart.’