Lunch, laughter and love for Laurel members
IT TAKES the line of ladies filing out of the Grafton District Services Club a little bit longer to leave the main room after a morning of raffles.
Every person stops to hug the person beside them as they move through the line, and the smiles stretch as far as the eye can see.
It is Friendship Day, an annual event hosted this year by the Grafton Laurel Club, bringing together 180 Legacy widows from Grafton to the border for a day of meeting old friends, and making new ones.
For Diane Lee of Lower Clarence and June Bell of Grafton it was a time to reconnect after a few years.
"We were both presidents of our clubs, and we used to see each other from that," Diane said.
"So it's been a few years since we've caught up and it's wonderful to get together again."
The women came into the organisation after their husbands who were in the services passed away, and said the group was a vital one for widowers to connect with other people in a similar circumstance.
"I think it can be very lonely for some," said Palm Beach/Currumbin Laurel Club member Dorothy Olney.
"The club is all about fellowship and friendship with other widows, and as well as enjoying each other's company, we can support one another.
"You gain a circle of friends."
The clubs meet once a month and also have outings for the members - culminating in the friendship day held once a year.
And as the line of people file past the table, Dorothy and her friend Lorna from the Ballina club stand for a hug and a quick goodbye.
"There's always lots of hugging and kissing at the end," Dorothy laughs.
"It's a wonderful day with wonderful people."