Lonely Joans try to entice a Darby or two

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The Independent Online
Desperate moves are afoot to persuade a Welsh town's macho menfolk to embrace the local Darby and Joan club, writes Richard Smith.

The group currently boasts 25 Joans and not a single Darby -only two men have turned up at the club in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, since it was founded in 1954. Now its organisers are to introduce darts and pool at the Monday afternoon get-togethers to try to entice men in.

"Its the Joan club at the moment," said Sandra Havard, its co-ordinator. "Certainly in the three years I've been responsible for the group I have never seen any men - and I wish I knew why."

Richard Booth, 57, who owns a bookshop in Hay, believes he has the answer to why men have snubbed the club. "I think its probably rural resistance to a suburban institution," he said.

"A lot of the old men in Hay prefer to just sit in the pub - they sip their beer and die. Many of them were highly esteemed manual workers living in a male world. They would lose their role and identity in a Darby and Joan club. I wouldn't go, so I suppose I'm typical."

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