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Nine years after The Bradbury opened in Kingston, its very first member, Michael Pearson, celebrates his 90th birthday. Friends and staff at The Bradbury surprised him on the day with a beautiful cake and reminisced about the early days of this fantastic local resource for people over 60.
‘I came here on day one and thought it was a knock-out,’ said Michael. ’It was so smart and bright and attractive, and it’s convenient – just around the corner from Kingston town centre. And I was the first member!’
The Bradbury, operated by Staywell, now has some 200 members who drop in as and when they want, enjoying good company, good food and a range of activities. ’Over the years all these activities have evolved,’ says Michael, looking at the variety on offer today: from art and photography courses to discussion groups, yoga, tai chi and even music and dancing. ’There have been so many trips and events over the years, always something different.’
The regular discussion groups in particular are Michael’s favourite activity at the moment – “’It’s about meeting friends. There’s no agenda, just non-stop interesting conversation.’
In the past he has also taken part in an Indian philosophy group, theatre workshops, film events and a project supporting local young carers – just a few of his favourite memories of The Bradbury. Michael is also an active volunteer, helping at the Star and Garter home in Richmond as well as helping raise funds for The Bradbury.
’I just like being with such nice people, and the café is super.’ Michael credits being so active and involved with keeping him fit and healthy for so long, ‘90 is quite an age I suppose!’
Sharing his fantastic birthday cake, created by one of the volunteers at the centre, Michael also reflected on the future.
’The centre is invaluable and should be supported. The service evolves to meet people’s needs. I’m a bit of an ambassador I suppose because I enjoy it so much.’