Five Ash Down Pop-in Club celebrates 25th anniversary

Members of Five Ash Down Pop-in Club celebrated its 25th anniversary with friends and guests this week.

A party was held at Barnsgate Manor and attended by about 100 people.

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Some of the people who keep the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club going, including founder Jane Sturt, centre, in the purple patterned dress.

Club founder Jane Sturt was there with a team of volunteer helpers, and members of her own family.

She launched the club on July 28, 1992, to keep the village community together after the closure of the village shop.

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Three members of the team running Five Ash Down Post Office and Stores today. On the left is Maggie Dopson who runs the shop with daughter-in-law Kim, right. Charlotte Bourne, centre is one of the people who works with them.

It continued as a Post Office but in more recent years the shop was resurrected, has grown and is thriving along with the Post Office under the leadership of Maggie Dopson and her daughter-in-law Kim. Working with them are Charlotte Bourne and Sam Coltman.

The pop-in club has grown too, continuing to foster its aim of helping people to keep in touch, alleviate loneliness and enjoy a social ‘cuppa’.

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Some of the party-goers celebrating the 25th anniversary of Five Ash Down Pop-in Club.

An original document about the club says: ““We have our own library of books and puzzles, information leaflets, sale of bread and teabags plus delivery of fresh fish.

“We have a Birthday Book and Get Well cards are signed by all present which are really appreciated by the receiver.

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Some of those enjoying the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club anniversary celebration.

“Car owners pick up people that are unable to get here under their own steam. We invite any of you and your friends to come along any Tuesday morning between 10:00 to 11:00am.”

The club continues as it was started, apart from the sale of bread, teabags, and fish, say the current members.

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Good company at the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club party.

More events have been added to the calendar including celebrations for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Harvest Festival – where proceeds go to the Royal British Legion – and a Christmas party.

Biscuits and cake are served with the cuppa and there are flowers on the tables to be enjoyed by all. Bingo is organised in the school holidays for children, and there’s a Penny Jar for spare change which goes to Demelza Hospice.

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Happy faces at the party at Barnsgate Manor.

Member Jane Brazier said: “The pop in has no membership, everyone mucks in, with Jane at the helm. It is just a get together for people of all ages to chat and enjoy. Many lasting friendships are made.  It helps put a smile on people’s faces. That says it all.”

Maggie and Kim Dopson took over the Post Office 13 years ago after Maggie received a note through her door saying it was to close.

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There were refreshments for all who came along to the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club party.

She hadn’t even known somebody else was needed to take on the business but spoke to her daughter-in-law and the rest is history. At the time there was very little in the shop, “just the opportunity to buy milk and a Mars bar”, said Maggie.

It is very different now. She and Kim continue to innovate and are currently planning to redecorate the outside and replace electrical wiring.

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More pop-in party-goers.

Over the years they have introduced fresh fruit and veg, meat, bread, frozen food, general household products, pet food, newspapers, greetings cards, hot and cold drinks and hot pies.

So now the village benefits from having both the successful pop-in club and thriving Post Office/shop.

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Barnsgate Manor was the setting for the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club anniversary party.

And Maggie pointed out that it also has a flourishing pub, The Pig and Butcher, which is doing well thanks to landlord David Gardner.

David said the pub is going from strength to strength with its Sunday carvery particularly popular. “Last week we had 30 bookings and catered for 70. It’s good to see people dropping in like this,” he said.

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Children are welcome at Five Ash Down Pop-in Club.

He added that a wine tasting evening went down well on Wednesday too and music nights are also well attended.

Dave Gardiner at the Pig and Butcher

Dave Gardiner at the Pig and Butcher

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Another family enjoying the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club anniversary get-together.

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In good company at the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club 25th anniversary celebration.

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More smiles at the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club party.

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Chance to socialise at the Five Ash Down Pop-in Club 25th anniversary party.

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Founder of the Five Ash Down Drop-in Club Jane Sturt, pictured centre, with members of her family.

• Contact details for Five Ash Down Post Office & Stores are available 24/7 in our Uckfield Directory. Look for the name or search in categories for Post Offices or Shops.

• Find contact details for The Pig and Butcher in our Uckfield Directory too. Look for the name or in categories for Pubs or Restaurants.

See also:

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Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

 

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