Presentation to founder of Aylesbury’s Gateway Club

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. pictured is Nicky Reid  - one of the original club members presenting a bouquet to Pam, and mayor Alison Harrison PNL-160703-213246009

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. pictured is Nicky Reid - one of the original club members presenting a bouquet to Pam, and mayor Alison Harrison PNL-160703-213246009

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The founder of a social club for people with learning difficulties has stepped down as leader after more than 30 years at the helm.

Pam Sheppeck founded The Gateway Club in Aylesbury in 1982 as part of a group of parents whose children all had learning difficulties.

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. pictured are new club leader Paul Perowne, mayor Alison Harrison and Pam PNL-160703-213512009

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. pictured are new club leader Paul Perowne, mayor Alison Harrison and Pam PNL-160703-213512009

The group is now open to adults of all ages and has almost 200 members.

Mrs Sheppeck said: “There was no social evening for them at the time so we founded the club.

“Now the group is for adults over the age of 18.

“We have 192 members and we actually have a waiting list.”

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. pictured is Nicky Reid  - one of the original club members presenting a bouquet to Pam PNL-160703-213318009

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. pictured is Nicky Reid - one of the original club members presenting a bouquet to Pam PNL-160703-213318009

The group meets on Monday evenings at Mandeville School in Ellen Road and provides an evening of social activity for its members.

Mrs Sheppeck, 74, said: “A lot of our members love music so we have discos most weeks and some of them also play darts.

“We also have entertainers who come along so we’ve had morris men and belly dancers and we always go to the pantomime in Aylesbury at the Waterside.

“We also go on a few outings each year which tends to include going to the seaside.”

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. Pictured is Pam with some of the original club members and mayor Alison Harrison PNL-160703-213129009

Presentation to Pam Sheppeck who founded the Aylesbury Gateway Club in 1982 for adults with learning difficulties. She is retiring in November. Pictured is Pam with some of the original club members and mayor Alison Harrison PNL-160703-213129009

Other organisations across Aylesbury regularly provide donations to the Gateway Club to help keep the group going.

These include the Aylesbury Rotary Club, the Victoria Club in Kingsbury and Weston Turville Church.

Mrs Sheppeck, of Little Kimble, who will still help out at the club said the members got great pleasure from being part of the group.

She said: “It is an opportunity for them to mix and socialise, to have an evening out and to boost their confidence.

“My daughter Claire is a member there and my son Andrew is chairman of the group.”

Members of the group are aged between 18 and 88 with some in wheelchairs.

On her decision to step down as leader Mrs Sheppeck said: “I have led it for all these years and I’m getting older so I felt now was the right time to let someone else take over.

“I am still on the committee and help out on Monday evenings.”

Mayor of Aylesbury Allison Harrison attended on Monday evening as club members presented Mrs Sheppeck with a gift and a bouquet of flowers as a token of thanks.

She said: “The presents were a lovely surprise and it was great that so many people were there on Monday.

“It was a very nice evening and a memorable occasion for me.

“It is nice that people have appreciated what I have done over the years.”

The group, which is now run by Paul Perowne, is planning to hold an Easter bonnet parade later this month.

Other activities planned over the summer months include a trip to Drayton Manor Park in June.

The club, which is affiliated to Mencap, a charity for people with learning disabilities, is always after more volunteers.

Anyone interested in helping out or finding out more should e-mail aylesburygatewayclub@outlook.com.