IT’S the end of an era with Benarty Antiquarian Club winding down after holding its last meeting on Friday April 14. 

President Lillian King formally drew it to a close, 66 years and two weeks after its formation in the Town House, Lochgelly, on March 30 1951.

The two founding members were Alex Westwater and Eddie Henderson, both well known writers and local historians. 

In 2002, the club placed two benches, one in memory of Eddie, the other of John Duncan, another founding member, close to Inchgall Castle and Lochore Meadows Country Park.  

A spokeswoman added: “Eddie would have been pleased to see his dream of archaeological work being done on the building.”

The format of the club remained the same over the years – lectures in the winter months and summer outings to places of architectural and historic importance. 

It would meet four times a year, in St.Serfs Church Hall, Main Street in Lochgelly on a Friday, with talks given by various speakers on a range of subjects. 

They would also organise two annual coach excursions, mainly to stately homes. 

Early topics covered a wide range of interests – geology, meteorology, local, Scottish and church history with occasional sidelines including a talk on ‘Animals Too Small to be Seen’. 

In later years, the scope widened to cover the world with personal recollections from Antarctica to the Sinai desert, from nurses in Haiti to the history of the police force, the fire service and the post office. 

Outings began with visits to local places of interest but soon ranged further afield, as far as Hadrian’s Wall. 

A spokeswoman for the club said: “There isn’t a castle or stately home in Scotland that hasn’t been visited, at one time or another, by the club.

“Sadly, membership numbers have dwindled, and it was felt that it was time for the club to retire gracefully.

“There can’t be many local clubs with such a long and devoted membership. 

“Lillian has been a member for 23 years and president for 10, but there are others who have been stalwart supporters for nearly 30 years – and they are not going to sit back. 

“History and heritage have never been so popular and some members are already involved in Lochgelly and Benarty groups.”