Aberdeen's Golden Oldies turn off the projector until COVID-19 threat disappears

Long-standing Golden Oldies member Jan Sumner
Long-standing Golden Oldies member Jan Sumner

FOR the first time in more than a decade, Aberdeen's Golden Oldies will turn off the projector.

Organisers have suspended this month's luncheon and movie - and possibly more functions in the near future - following recent advice by the federal government and medical experts to avoid non-essential gatherings.

"Out of concern for our senior patrons, the volunteers made the difficult decision to put our regular events on hold until further notice," treasurer Dianne Walmsley said.

"So, the film on April 14 has been cancelled.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope everyone stays safe and healthy until this [coronavirus] passes."

The concept of the Golden Oldies began when the late John Scriven started showing old movies to fellow locals upon his retirement in town.

Once a month, you'd find him down the back of the Aberdeen Bowling Club, sitting in the dark with his beloved reel projector, screening the great Hollywood films.

A mere $10 would buy you a ticket for a three-course meal, a good chin-wag with your mates and a chance to reminisce while Grace Kelly or Gene Kelly danced across the screen.

But, there was a method to his madness.

He hoped to raise enough funds to build the Upper Hunter Museum of Rural Life.

Sadly, Mr Scriven died in 2011, however his legacy remains intact.

So, you can appreciate why long-standing member Jan Sumner admitted the "interruption" was a blow to the small group.

"The movie days have been running for about 15 years," she said.

"However, we've never encountered anything like this before.

"Usually, we have always coped with any setback - but we need to look after everyone's health at the moment.

"You can only guess how long this situation will stay with us.

"It's unprecedented.

"Rest assured, the Golden Oldies will return as soon as possible.

"It's not just a movie day for people.

"You come here to see friends, enjoy a catch-up - it's a social gathering for residents.

"And, we often do 50-plus meals.

"So, this 'suspension' is a shame.

"But, we'll be back - and working towards John's dream of having a museum in Aberdeen."