I joined The Jolly Dollies in the early days, 2013. Less than a handful of us then. I remember, having made arrangements to meet up with my first JD. Standing outside the Estate Agents at the pre-arranged time. Thinking to myself “What does a Jolly Dolly look like?”. Looking at every lady that passed and wondering if she was this mystical Jolly Dolly. Thinking that I had been ‘stood up!’. And then, glancing across the road to see a lady waiting outside another Estate Agent. Yes, that was she, Liz Woods, my first Jolly Dolly, and now ‘Lifelong Friend!’ And shortly after meeting up with another lady, sadly no longer a Jolly Dolly. The three of us going for our first (of many) lunches. Talking and talking and talking – and smiling and laughing. Realising that it was okay to smile and laugh again! And now, four and a half years on, I have so many special Jolly Dolly friends. We have been to so many places together, done so many things, eaten so many meals! And we are always there for each other, only a message or phone call away. We understand, we ‘get’ it, like nobody else. The Jolly Dollies are one of the reasons I am here today and I will always want to be one. So, thank-you Yvonne Vann, for creating this amazing group of amazing women. ❤
West Sussex and Devon JD
It’s a big step to join and one I haven’t regretted for a minute since my husband Graham died in 2014. None of us want to be in this exclusive club but to be with ladies who totally understand if you want to cry or even have a laugh you are not judged at all. To meet a total stranger and instantly have the bond of friendship is something you can’t explain but it happens. We are all there for each other and thank goodness for the Jolly Dollies. I’m moving soon from a fantastic group of ladies who are now wonderful friends here in Barnstaple and will miss them dreadfully. I’m hoping I can find a Jolly Dolly group in West Sussex.
The best thing I could have done after losing my husband of 53 years so suddenly. Some leaflets had been given to my Drs surgery and my Dr actually explained to me that it is so important not to stay at home feeling isolated and alone and urged me to phone the number on the leaflet. I chatted to a lovely lady who invited me to come to a coffee morning in my neighbouring town. It was so lovely to meet other ladies in a similar position. Continuing my post…..several of the ladies there realised we came from another town only a few miles away so we met separately and decided to start our Bideford group which is now a very busy thriving group. We do things I never thought I would do again, Sunday pub lunches, fortnightly coffee mornings, skittles, outings to local places of interest, theatre trips and 17 of us are holidaying together in Spain in May.
The Jolly Dollies idea is marvellous, it brings ladies together who totally understand each other, we can chat about our husbands if we feel sad but mainly it’s a SOCIAL group to bring us all together to have fun and enjoyment and not be alone and sad. Wonderful group.
Founder member of The Jolly Dollies Social Network for Widows.
This journey of widowhood is the hardest journey I have had to take in my life. I didn’t ask for it, it was forced on me and I will always have to travel along it’s path.
The JD journey has helped me to make some sense of the struggle, pain and learning about myself since my husband died and it will help me to continue to make my way in the world.
I am dedicated to giving you a space to find your own strength, powers and ability to feel safe and secure in yourself. I want you to find support with a friend or two by your side so that you can support others.
Thank you to all our amazing JD members who help so many widows to find the friendships and understanding they want and deserve.
Joining the jolly dollies has given me a whole new set of friends and confidence to do things I would never of done before. It’s a start to a whole new adventure, doing things like going out eating drinking laughing, holidays, cinema and more. It’s something I can recommend to all widows. Go out and do it, you will never regret this next chapter in this great group.
Both my husband and I were only children, two of our three sons moved away. My husband was was in poor health for some years, in the last year of his life he was gradually housebound I cared for him 24/7. When he passed I felt completely lost and didn’t know how to start picking up the pieces, I knew I had to make a new life for myself. Nine months later I read an article in my local paper by Yvonne Vann all about the Jolly Dollies, I joined and haven’t looked back. I have made wonderful new friends. I now have a new life with the support and understanding of fellow Jolly Dollies. I encourage anyone who have lost their husbands to join I’m sure they won’t regret it, it’s definitely the best thing I could have done after losing my husband of 45 years.
I live on a housing estate with good neighbours but since I started JDs in Henley, now, if I have a local appointment I can e-mail my fellow JDs to see who would like to meet me for coffee or lunch as soon as I am free. There have also been two films I wanted to see and again e-mailed my fellow JDs to see who would be interested in seeing it as well. Apart from our regular coffee and luncheon meetings there is a friendship that you can turn to and know that someone is bound to be free to join you. JDs is more than a support group it brings friendship to ladies who are often retired and have the time to meet up at short notice and it takes away that feeling of isolation if you live alone and just want to get out and spend some time with friends.
I’ve very recently lost my husband and was feeling very lost. I saw JD’s on the internet and thought I would try it and wouldn’t have to go again if I didn’t feel it was for me. My first meeting was with 3 other lovely ladies. I was very nervous on the drive there, however, we met as strangers and left as friends with plans for many more outings and events.
That day was the first day that I actually felt that someone actually understood how I felt, friends and family have been amazing but they just don’t know how big the void is in my life, it’s like losing a part of you. It was so lovely for the ladies to totally understand my rollercoaster journey and they shared their tips that have helped them on their “new life” a life that we didn’t choose.
The Hereford JD’s are off to Rhyl tomorrow and Bournemouth for the new year. You probably know this already, but what you don’t know is that I have met a new man and so after New Year I will rescind my membership.
I have spread the word about JD’s wherever I go as I know what a fantastic organisation it is for widows. Out of the Hereford group I have noticed how for some ladies it has meant them finding themselves again after years being alone following the death of their husbands.
My experience was not like this – I was a professional woman used to meeting people and not afraid to go out alone – my husband was keen to want me to find another partner after his death.
My membership is paid for the next year but I will dip out after the Bournemouth trip. The whole JD experience has been so supportive as I joined 6 weeks after my husband died. If I had a wobble I was with people who really understand and don’t judge.
What you created Yvonne is a haven of support and a chance for people to come out of a dark rigid place – so thank you for myself and the women in the dark place for showing a light.
From losing my husband John in December 2016 to being in my local card shop talking to the owner the following March being approached by a Jolly Dolly inviting me to have a coffee with fellow members, has made my life so different than it could be. I have made some incredible friends from the Barnstaple group. Thank you all for your support.
Best thing I ever did, changed my life completely and has given me a great circle of friends
“Best thing I ever did” ….. I said this after I joined and so have many other JDs too. So true and maybe should be the JDs motto! 💜
West Sussex JD
(this is an email to Chris a wonderful JD Organiser)
I’m sure we will have a good lunch and it will be nice to go out for lunches.
I look forward to our next coffee get together.
I really appreciate all the effort you are putting in to get our jd group going. I’m finding it really helpful and it is changing my attitude to my future, I was beginning to think I didn’t have one and that my life would revolve around house work and going to the cemetery.
I thank you for this as you are really changing my life, my sister said to me this morning I seem much happier and more positive since you took the group in hand. I owe this to you thank you.