Helen Smith and Helen Cashel of the Grafton View Club who is celebrating their 60th birthday this year.
Helen Smith and Helen Cashel of the Grafton View Club who is celebrating their 60th birthday this year. Caitlan Charles

A VIEW to 50 years of making a difference

IT WAS all about friendship for the women who have joined the Grafton VIEW Club over the last 50 years.

Grafton VIEW Club president Helen Cashel said while they raise money for the Smith Family, they do love a good social occasion.

"We have a monthly meeting with a guest speaker, they can be varied, most are quite interesting ... and we all like to go out and dress up and have lunch," she said.

When the club started in October of 1967, they had about 40 members, including Hazel Oxenbridge who is still a member of the club today.

In February of 1963 the Clarence Evening VIEW Club was formed to cater to working women, but in 2007 when the day club was to close due to lack of members, the evening club members moved to the lunch spot to keep the original club going.

"It would have been their 40th year," Mrs Cashel said.

"Most of our girls in the evening club had finished work, I think there were two who were still working, so we decided we'd close our club and join the Grafton club because 40 years would just go down the drain."

Grafton VIEW club treasurer Helen Smith said the group now has 33 members.

"In the evening club, in the past, we used to have over 100 each month, but people age and they don't get out like they used to," she said.

"The young ones don't want to get out and have lunch. If they've got five minutes to spare they will go to the gym or spend time with their children."

However, Mrs Cashel said some of the coastal clubs were having more luck gaining more members.

VIEW clubs began in 1960 when the general secretary of The Smith Family George Forbes saw the potential for women of all walks of life to develop interests outside the home and created a group for the Voice, Interests and Education of Women.

The Smith Family help disadvantaged children with education through fundraising with the help of VIEW clubs across the country.

"The Smith Family is going into supporting disadvantaged children through their student years and breaking the cycle," Mrs Cashel said.

To contribute their part, the Grafton VIEW Club holds two major fundraisers each year.

"We have a big raffle on our birthday, we go down to Coles and sell tickets outside," Mrs Smith said.

"A lot of people have been involved in The Smith Family or they've been customers of the Smith Family over the years."

One of their annual fundraisers, the International Women's Day lunch, is on this Friday, March 10 from 9am at the Yamba Bowling and Recreation Club.

There will be singing, dancing, a vintage bridal fashion parade, and a guest speaker from Destiny Rescue.

Ticket includes a two course lunch with tea and coffee for $27.50.

To book, call Joy Lauder 6643 1124 or email yanogi@bigpond.com for individuals, groups and tables of 12. You then need to buy tickets from the Yamba Bowling Club on 6646 2305 or online at ticketbooth.com.au.

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