Sudbury charity founder Anesta says her goodbyes at a retirement party

Anesta Newson at her retirement party with husband Ken. ANL-160322-141929001
Anesta Newson at her retirement party with husband Ken. ANL-160322-141929001
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More than 100 people turned out to wish Anesta Newson MBE and founder and chief executive of The Bridge Project a fond farewell at her retirement party recently.

After 20 years at the award-winning Sudbury charity, which provides vocational training, education and employment opportunities for disadvantaged adults and also runs a lunch club and cafe, Mrs Newson said the time had just “flown by”.

Honoured for her work in the New Year’s honours list in 2012, Mrs Newson, 70, said: “It has been such a wonderful journey and I’ve met such wonderful people along the way.

“It was a lovely evening to be among so many friends. What a great send off. I’m thrilled the charity is going to continue and that The Bridge Project lives on.”

New chief executive of The Bridge Project is Jo Searle who was previously in the same role at WPF Therapy and Suffolk Mind. She has more than 20 years’ experience in operational and management roles in the health and social care sector.

Last year the charity won a High Sheriff Award for Suffolk Corporate Community Partnership of the Year, and Suffolk High Sherriff Judith Shallow attended Mrs Newson’s retirement party.

Stephen Varcoe, a trustee of the charity and who delivered a speech at the event, said: “Anesta has always led by her heart which set the values for The Bridge Project and all that it stands for today.”

He made special mention to the staff and volunteers and Mrs Newson’s husband Ken, “an inspiration and a joy” who believed in her vision for The Bridge Project from the start.

Originally based in Ballingdon Street, the project moved to its current home of Bradbury Courtyard in Gainsborough Street in 1999.