Extract from the Parish Magazine 1996

It may come as a surprise to many Eccleston people to learn that the Lester Drive Centre is independent of the Local Authority. The premises are owned, managed and administered by the Eccleston Old People's Welfare Committee whose members are Trustees and give their time and services on a free and voluntary basis. The organisation is a registered charity, and is self-financing, although we do receive a small, annual grant from UVO. We must, therefore, work to raise funds to maintain and improve the property and support the services we provide. The Eccleston Old People's Welfare Committee originated from an initiative by the Old Age Pensioners' Association who recognised the need for services in the community which were beyond their scope.

On the 14th March, 1955, a meeting was called of representatives from all local organisations, under the chairmanship of Mr J Barron, Chairman of the Old Age Pensioners' Association. A committee was formed consisting of the usual officers and twenty-five members and a constitution was drafted defining the aims and responsibilities of the committee. To help the fledgling committee on its way the Association gave a donation of £50, which was a substantial sum in those days. Chiropody was one of the first services to be provided. A private chiropodist, Mr Pye, (father of the present chiropodist) was engaged and held a clinic on Saturday afternoons in the, then, Congregational Church Hall in Kiln Lane.

The idea of purchasing a suitable property to be used as an Old People's Centre was first mooted in 1957 and the committee worked towards that end. Eventually, in 1964, negotiations began with a local builder, Mr Stanley Ellison, which led to the purchase of the land and premises in Lester Drive which was Mr Ellison's joinery workshop. Plans were drawn up and submitted for the alteration and reconstruction work necessary to adapt the building to its new purpose. Tenders were submitted, a contractor engaged and in due course the present building emerged. In the meantime, the committee used Christ Church Hall as a venue for the Old People's Club, which continued there until the new premises were completed.

The Chairman of the Committee at that time was the formidable Mrs Guest whose tireless work on our behalf was instrumental in turning a dream into reality, and later in organising the day-to-day running of the Centre until the mid 1980's when ill health curtailed her activities.

The present members of the committee and the people of Eccleston are greatly indebted to the late Mrs Guest for her services to the community. On Thursday 17th October 1968 the Lester Drive Centre was officially opened by Mrs Mary Wilson, wife of the Prime Minister, Mr Harold Wilson.


Eccleston Parish Council Magazine

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