Farewell to Ben Rhydding ‘soup day’

Wharfedale Observer: George and Joan Luffman serving soup at the last of their long-running monthly Soup Day events George and Joan Luffman serving soup at the last of their long-running monthly Soup Day events

A Ben Rhydding couple have served up their last community soup lunch after a decade of organising the monthly event and raising an impressive £8,000 for good causes.

For the last ten years, George and Joan Luffman have hosted a monthly Soup Day.

For a nominal donation, they offered a choice of soups accompanied by a variety of home-made breads followed by tea or coffee. Over the years, these donations have added up to almost £8,000, raised for the work of Churches Together in Ilkley and the Romanian Friendship Foundation.

Mr and Mrs Luffman are both long-standing members of St John’s Church, Ben Rhydding.

“We started Soup Day in January 2002,” said Mr Luffman.

“We’d been looking for a new outreach and fundraising project and, as a keen soup-maker, when someone gave me a Soup Bible, I thought this is a sign.”

Over the years, with 138 Soup Days behind them, the couple have made over 400 different soups and 20 different breads.

Ben Rhydding resident Margaret Dale said, “I’m not a regular church-goer, but there’s always been a warm welcome from Joan and George, with good soup and good company.”

On the final day last week, there were more than 40 visitors.

“This is a bit special,” said Mrs Luffman. “We’ve usually averaged about 25 to 30 and yes, we will miss it, but we’ve had a good run, and life moves on.”

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