The Warm & Toasty Club at the Colchester Arts Centre

Community and variety are certainly alive and well in Colchester thanks to Johnno Casson and 'The Warm & Toasty Club'. On the 14th of October 2018, the Colchester Arts Centre was filled for a celebration of the ‘Colchester Memory Afternoons’ which are events dedicated to preserving and honouring the memories and experiences of people living in the region.

The 'Memory Afternoons' are a gathering of people over 65 who share their stories of what life was like when they were younger. It was an afternoon of eclectic celebration, after all, where else would you get to hear a ukulele band playing a cover of 'What's Up?' by '4 Non Blondes'

Music wasn't the only entertainment that afternoon, there was a gloriously intricate ‘Memory Map’ of Colchester featuring many of the participants of the memory afternoons made by local artist Alison Stockmarr.

There was a talk about the importance of recording and preserving local memories, hot buttered toast and a film celebrating one of the participants as well as the ever popular and at times controversial debate on biscuit of the month, which this time around was won by the oft forgotten ‘Lemon Puffs’.

The audience was of course treated to some brilliant musical talent such as Emma Miller. As if that wasn't enough we had Marina Florence performing some of her tracks which were co-written by Jules Fox-Allen and inspired and some of the stories shared at the memory afternoons and we had Ady Johnson who took a break from his tour to play us some music.

So much of what the warm and toasty club does is about celebrating and preserving the memories of the older generation, not in a ponderous manner but infused with laughter and entertainment. Whenever I see their name on a flyer on the billing for the event I know I will come away enriched and rejuvenated.

Most of all I know I will just have a jolly good time!