A celebration took place at Greene King last weekend as members of its Mothers’ Group raised a glass to 130 years of friendship and support.

The Mothers’ Group was formed in 1888 by Mrs E W Lake, the wife of the then managing director of Greene King, and her vision was to support the company’s wives socially and financially.

At that time, life was very different for women and Mrs Lake understood the difficulties many met when setting up and running a home. She arranged for two local Bury St Edmunds shops, Plumptons and Prettys, to send any invoices incurred by the wives to be sent to Greene King for payment. The wives would then pay back a little each week and should they default they would not be allowed on the next annual outing.

Over a century on and the group is still going strong, meeting up at least three times a year. While it is still known as the Mothers’ Group, members do not have to be female or a mother all are welcome to join and most of the members are now retired or current employees, rather than wives of those who work for the pub company and brewer.

To celebrate the milestone, a party was held at Greene King’s brewery tap on Saturday 21 July with over 30 attending, including the oldest member Myra Clelland, aged 82 who joined over 21 years ago.

Sue Russell, Greene King’s welfare officer and chair of the Mothers Group, said: “We are proud that the group has survived two world wars and many changes over the years. We are a collection of ladies who are connected to Greene King, either because we work or have worked at the company or our husbands did.

“We usually meet for a lunch and this year we had the first outing for many years when we watched You Win Again, the Bee Gees story at the Apex.

“I am so pleased the numbers of the group continues to grow and our consensus is that we can’t let the group close; there is so much history. And, while we are all connected to a brewery, there’s nothing better than a natter over a nice brew of tea and cake!”