LACONIA — The Laconia Friendship Club marked its 60th anniversary with a luncheon and program held at Laconia Country Club Wednesday in which Betty Clark, club president, pointed out that the club was well ahead of its time when it was founded.
''It wasn't until 1965 that senior centers were formed across the country'' said Clark, who praised the club's founders for their vision in forming a club in Laconia which brought senior citizens together for sharing and working together on community projects.
Approximately 100 people attended the gathering.
Fran Anderson of Belmont spoke about the club's history and noted that meetings were originally held on the lawn of the Laconia Public Library.
She said that when the Martha Prescott Auditorium was built in the 1960s the club, which had worked to support the project, was given free lifetime use of the auditorium for its meetings. That continued until renovations and additions to the library which started in 2004 and were completed in 2007 and the newly constructed Rotary Hall proved to be too small for such gatherings.
The meetings were moved to the former Sacred Heart High School and are now held at Leavitt Park clubhouse in Lakeport.
She said that she and her late husband joined the club after moving to Gilmanton in 1987 and that she has served several terms as president, including back-to-back two year terms and ''loved every minute of it.''
Mayor Ed Engler said that it was a different era when the club was formed and observed ''how fortunate we all are to have lived through the last 60 years.'' He said that the club has a strong foundation and will not lack for new members to keep its traditions alive. "They are not going to stop making new 55-year-olds," said.
Clark said that the reason the club is thriving and growing is ''because we're a group of givers that never says no to community projects.''
She said that one of rewards for club members in joining together for fellowship and providing assistance is that ''the burden is less and the joy is more.''
Simone Hebert, 93, and Gemma Hamel, 92, attended the 60th anniversary celebration of the Laconia Friendship Club which was held Wednesday at the Laconia Country Club. Hebert is the oldest member of the club and Hamel has been a member of the club longer than any of the other current club members. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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