Dollies are having a jolly good time!

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 January 2013

Some of Weston's Jolly Dollies: L-R: Betty Phillis, Cherrie Broomfield, Pauline Luck, Jan Mcardle, Dee Webber, Yvonne Vann and Sylvia Gribble.

Some of Weston's Jolly Dollies: L-R: Betty Phillis, Cherrie Broomfield, Pauline Luck, Jan Mcardle, Dee Webber, Yvonne Vann and Sylvia Gribble.

Weston College

“THE Jolly Dollies group is all about moving forward. We want to have some fun after going through some terrible experiences.”

These are the words of Uphill pensioner Yvonne Vann, who made it her mission - with the help of a new-found friend - to create a support system that would help the widows of Weston.

Yvonne, aged 65, of Links Road, started the group – The Jolly Dollies – two years ago, with friend June Owens. June and Yvonne’s friendship formed when both of their husbands died of the same rare neurological illness.

Yvonne said: “We started going out to tai-chi classes together and we thought there must be so many women in the same position.

“When you become a widow you lose a part of your social life.

“When people are bereaved, they are all different and they deal with it differently, but the one thing you have in common is the feeling of loss.

“But within the group there is the feeling of camaraderie and friendships are formed. It gives people back their social life.”

The Jolly Dollies hold regular meetings and plan trips and events such as Sunday lunches, pub quizzes and even aim to expand their skills by taking on DIY and car maintenance courses at Weston College, something which Yvonne said may never have happened while they were married.

The Weston women have recently learned how to put up shelves, plasterboard and some basic skills with electric tools at the college’s construction and engineering centre of excellence in Locking Road.

Jolly Dollies member Janet McArdle, aged 67, said: “Most of us have all got these tools at home, but don’t know how to use them properly.

“I used to help my husband but more in terms of holding up a shelf while he drilled – I wish I’d taken a bit more notice now. It’s been a really useful course to do.”

The group has grown by word of mouth and now boasts 15 members.

But Yvonne hopes when the team launches its website next year it will encourage more to join and encourage others to form their own groups.

She said: “When it launches in January people will be able to contact us through Facebook and Twitter and there will be a start-up pack.

“We want widows to start groups all over the country.We will help them and give them guidance.

“I’m just a pensioner trying to help other widows. When you join the Jolly Dollies group you feel part of a community that understands how you feel.

“We want this to go national because there are so many strong people out there, but there are also others that feel lost.”

To become a member of the Jolly Dollies, or for more information, email

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