26 September 2017

When 4 strangers – all in different decades of their lives and each going through different life-changing events – met over a Big Lunch in 2010, they had no idea that they would go on to form such strong bonds. The friendship between Emma, Jill, Marie, and Karen has transcended generational barriers, supporting the women in the face of extreme personal challenges.

Four woman of varying ages talk on a couch.

As food is a universal need, it’s no surprise that it has the power to unite people. By sharing food people are not only physically sustained, but emotionally and socially sustained, too: ‘something magical happens when people share a meal,’ explains Karen. ‘The sharing of food is such an important thing.’

The four ladies first met when Emma, the youngest of the bunch (then aged 43), organised a Big Lunch in her street to bond with her neighbours. Polite smiles turned into full conversations as The Big Lunch prompted regular neighbourly lunches, whilst also igniting the spark which would fuel the fire of friendship over the years to come. In retrospect, Karen has described The Big Lunch as the springboard into greater community engagement and involvement: ‘we’re not neighbours, now, we’re friends [...] and we’re all grateful for that.’

Emma, Jill, Marie, and Karen were born decades apart, but the unwavering support and encouragement they have shared through life’s highs and lows is proof that true friendship is generation-blind. ‘This is exactly what I wanted […] I didn’t expect the rich friendships I have with each of you, separately, as well as each of you together’ explains Emma.

Marie adds that since they met, there has ‘evolved a very loving friendship’ which has helped the four ladies through bereavement, cancer, redundancy, and gender transition. Through this intergenerational friendship the women enjoy unique connections that most can only ever hope for: put together, they have two hundred and ninety years of friendly wisdom and inspirational resilience to share among them and enrich their friendship.

This year they held a Big Birthday Bash instead of their usual Big Lunch, with the ladies celebrating turning fifty, seventy, eighty, and ninety in 2017.


To read more about the benefits of intergenerational relationships and how to encourage them, check this out.

To gain an insight into the unique connections that male friendship groups enjoy, check out neighbros.