The Bakers’ Benevolent Society (BBS) celebrated its 150th anniversary with a family open day on Sunday 15 June at Bakers Villas in Epping.

Visitors enjoyed a barbecue, children’s treasure hunt, fire engine demonstration, various stalls and music from a number of acts, culminating in a barn dance to a six-piece band. The event was also attended by Society president the Hon Mrs Moira Rank.

"The BBS Trustees were all present to remind us that the first sheltered accommodation had been opened in Leyton in 1857, moving to its present site in Epping in 1973," said National Association of Master Bakers president Chris Beaney. "The villas are still financed by donations from large and small companies, as well as indivi-duals, and it is a testament to the staff that they are full to the brim with happy residents and a long waiting list to enter."

The BBS provides sheltered housing for retired members of the Baking and Allied Trades. All 46 apartments are fully occupied, but chairman of trustees Marshall Pennington says the accommodation is undergoing a rolling programme of improvements. "All the kitchens have been renewed and most of the baths have been replaced by walk-in showers," he says.

Suzanne Dando, clerk to the Society, says that 100% occupancy makes the complex self-sufficient on day-to-day running. "But bigger items, such as new lifts and a more efficient heating system, still need funding."

Funds are raised through various events and the Society is asking industry companies to take recycling boxes for the collection of stamps, mobile phones and anything else that can be turned into cash.