Royal Voluntary Service welcomed its President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, to its Dolau Bran lunch club in Llandovery, as it celebrated its 40th anniversary on Tuesday, July 2.

The lunch club, which provides a hot meal and company for older people every Tuesday and Thursday, is run by Mary Jackson and her team of 15 volunteers who typically serve 30 diners each week.

As well as meeting the club’s volunteers and attendees and finding out about the difference the lunch club makes, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall cut a cake to celebrate the anniversary of the club. During the visit, she also met members of the local community including school children from Ysgol Rhys Prichard and a male voice choir.

Mary Jackson, from Llandovery, who met HRH The Duchess of Cornwall said: “When I first wrote to The Duchess of Cornwall and invited her to visit, I had only a small hope it would actually happen.

"The visit was beyond my wildest dreams both for me and my volunteers. This recognition means so much to us and I hope The Duchess enjoyed meeting us as much as we did her.”

Lunch clubs offer a vital community service to older people; hundreds of the charity’s volunteers run 76 lunch clubs in Britain, 11 in Wales, serving more than 50,000 meals each year to older people in the community. They offer attendees a regular chance to eat a healthy, hot meal in the company of others and provide opportunities to make friends, build a support system and maintain social connections. They are a lifeline as previous research by the charity has found that more than 1.6m older people (one in five) eat lunch and dinner alone every day.

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service, said: “We’re delighted our president, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, was able to visit the lunch club today. It was a perfect occasion to say thank you to Mary and her team of amazing volunteers. Without volunteers like Mary we wouldn’t be able to run these lunch clubs, which really are a lifeline to so many older people in the community. The power of social dining and eating in company cannot be underestimated.”

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 20,000 volunteers supporting thousands of people each month in hospitals, at home and in the community. The acts of kindness the volunteers provide, whether serving up hearty food at a lunch club, helping out with a lift to a GP or social appointment or running chair-based exercises on ward to prevent pyjama paralysis, help make communities stronger and relieve the pressure on public services. The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.

For more information on how to volunteer visit