FLEET Ladies Luncheon Club celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special birthday meeting.

At the event, held at Fleet's Lismoyne Hotel, club chairman Edna Millington spoke about members old and new, outings, guest speakers and the fun members have had.

Members also took the opportunity to exchange photos and memories, reminding each other of the club's history.

"One member made a super birthday cake and we celebrated over a drink and a piece of cake," said Mrs Millington, who is in her second stint as club chairman — a post she has held for eight years.

The club began as the Ladies Conservative Club but it was deemed too political and restricting for the members so it changed to the Fleet Ladies Luncheon Club.

At its peak the club had about 100 members but it now has about 60.

Members meet once a month to have lunch, listen to a guest speaker and enjoy each other's company.

Mrs Millington said: "We get together, have a civilised lunch and exchange ideas — it's purely social.

"We are all such good friends we have a nice meal, a drink and simply get along.

"I enjoy the social aspect and openness of the club and its members.

"It used to be very formal but it's not now."

Guest speakers have included local historians, adventurers, MPs and a round-the-world yachts-woman.

"Sometimes members entertain the group but they are not always keen to stand up and entertain because people just want to relax," said Mrs Millington.

She added: "There have been too many memorable moments to recall one that stands out. They are all so nice."

The club does not make any money. Members' £12 annual subscription fees pay for speakers.

"We're not a bunch of do-gooders.

"We don't just bake cakes and have jumble sales, we just want to socialise," said Mrs Millington.

"People are always busy with so many other things, so we take this opportunity to unwind."

The lunches have always been held at the Lismoyne Hotel in Church Road, Fleet.

"They have been very good," said Mrs Millington.

"We've always had pleasant food and excellent service.

"They provide us with a room and the atmosphere is marvellous.

"To toast the club's 40th birthday the hotel provided all the members with a free drink."