LAST week we mentioned that a new booklet has been compiled on the history of Rowan Cottage, the home of Age Concern in Dorchester, now known as Age UK.

Wendy Hilton's book looks at how Rowan Cottage became the charity's home. It all began when Alderman Roger Thomas was strolling in the town's Borough Gardens when he saw a group of old men huddled together on a seat. He then saw another group on the stone ledge outside the Corn Exchange. He stopped and asked them why they didn't go somewhere warmer; they asked him where should we go?

It dawned on Roger that there was a lack of provision for elderly citizens in Dorchester and when he became mayor in the same year he told the town council he wanted to start an old people's club but wasn't provided with funding for it.

He was eventually able to form the Dorchester Old People's Welfare Committee (DOPWC) in September 1957. It met for the first time in February 1958 in the dilapidated British Legion hut on Trinity Street but within the year they relocated to the Comrades Club in Trinity Street. When they outgrew the club, Roger's wife Betty heard a rumour that Mr and Mrs Harris were leaving Rowan Cottage, which had just been bequeathed to two sisters Mrs Lewis and Mrs Leslie. The generous siblings decided to give both the cottage and garden to the DOPWC in memory of their aunt and history was made.