Alex Browne photo Tea Temptations members (left to right) Denise Douglas, Sheri McLean-Smith, Michele Palmer and Nancy Fanton toast their upcoming Autumn Leaves Tea at Ocean Park Community Hall.

Senior guests invited to join in South Surrey Tea Temptations party

Free tickets for those ‘65 and better’ must be reserved for Ocean Park event

If you’re a fun-loving, young-at-heart senior – and ready to be tempted by the prospect of a complimentary tea – a group of South Surrey ladies want to hear from you.

The volunteer group, who have adopted the name ‘The Tea Temptations,’ are offering a free ‘Autumn Leaves Tea’ at Ocean Park Community Hall for those 65 and better – complete with their own home-made sandwiches and other goodies – as a result of a Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

The tea will take place at the hall (1577 128 St.) from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22. Also present will be members of the White Rock Youth Ambassadors who will “make a significant contribution to the tea,” according to organizer and spokesperson Michele Palmer.

All that’s necessary to attend is to reserve tickets in advance by emailing teatemptations@hotmail.com.

Reserved tickets must be picked up in person on Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at White Rock Community Centre, 15154 Russell Ave., or by arranging an alternative pick-up time (no tickets will be issued at the door).

“The inspiration for this came from a couple of senior ladies I was talking to a few years ago,” Palmer, who applied for the grant, said.

“They said that while there were a lot of activities for seniors during the week, weekends can be quiet,” she said. “I thought ‘I’m going to (organize) a tea here.’

The Vancouver Foundation grants, which Palmer first read about in the Peace Arch News, “are about anything that brings the community together,” she said.

“The goal is to provide something good for interaction and connecting with other people.”

With the help of her sister, Denise Douglas, and five other women, most of them retired, she has done just that – and the reaction, even before a single tea-cup has been filled, indicates the community is more than ready for a semi-formal occasion that gives seniors a chance to dress up in their Sunday best and mix with others.

Others have been generous with donations – including a White Rock woman who volunteered a collection of tea cups given her by her mother, grandmother and godmother.

Well in advance of the Sept. 8 ticket pick-up, more than 50 per cent of the 100 available tickets have already be claimed, which has led the group to make plans for another tea, dubbed the Christmas Jingle Mingle, at the same venue, on Dec. 8.

“People can pick up tickets for that, too, on Sept. 8 at the community centre,” Palmer said. “But because there is no grant for that, tickets will be $10 each.

“My goal is this will be the beginning of offering teas three or four times a year. Each one will be paying for itself – we’re not here to make money.”

There is only one misconception to overcome, Palmer said.

“For the first one, being a free event is a bit of an obstacle – some people think it’s for people who can’t afford to go out, but that’s not it at all. It’s just for people who want to enjoy themselves.”

But even when the Tea Temptations begin charging for tickets, it’s still going to be one of the best bargains around, as co-organizer Nancy Fanton noted.

“It’s hard to go out to anything these days without spending a lot of money,” she said.

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