Bikers are a big hit with elderly diners

Swindon Advertiser: Royal British Legion bikers dressed in their waiters’ uniforms Royal British Legion bikers dressed in their waiters’ uniforms

BIKERS made a pit stop at Liden Community Centre’s annual senior citizens festive luncheon yesterday, but not to eat – instead they waited on guests, poured drinks and made themselves useful around the kitchen.

Twelve members of the Royal British Legion’s Riders Branch lent their services for three and a half hours, never failing to drop in a joke or two while clearing plates and refilling glasses.

Dressed for the part in white shirts, black trousers and bow ties, they could not resist wearing a bikers’ leather waistcoats decorated with their regiment badges.

Andy Sleep, of RBL Riders’ branch, enlisted the help of members, many of whom drove their motorcycles into the hall for effect and even allowed pensioners to sit on them.

“Liden Community Centre approached me in May and asked me to provide unusual waiters,” said the 48-year-old from Liden.

“I wanted to give something back to the community; they deserve our help. It’s a way of saying thank you and it was an honour for all of us to do it. It’s great to see people’s faces light up.

“It has been fantastic and something different for everyone. Hopefully we can do it again next year.”

Despite a white lie from organisers, who initially led diners to expect the Hairy Bikers at the event, the 90 guests, many of them ex-servicemen, were delighted by the riders’ visit.

The servers’ good humour won over the many ladies present as well.

Kath Gillespie, 65, of Liden, looks forward to the senior citizens meal each year but yesterday’s event surpassed all her expectations.

“It was fabulous,” said the former Liden Community Centre volunteer. “It’s lovely to come every year but this year the service was the best we’ve had. I love the bikers, they were wonderful. The lunch is very important for us. It’s a lovely place to meet people.”

Moira Bowie, a Liden Community Centre committee member who has been preparing the copious Christmas roast almost single-handedly and on a budget of £500 for the past 20 years, said she was extremely impressed by her staff’s ability to follow orders.

“The lunch has been really good and they’ve been really quick at serving,” she said. “They followed orders well. It was good of them to be involved. It is very important for people in Liden. Some of these people sometimes don’t get out at all to mix with people at this time of year. They are alone.”

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