IT was party time in Barrhead as members of a “lifeline” disability group celebrated a major milestone.

The Barrhead and Neilston Disabled Forum (Band F) has provided a safe haven for people in the area for 25 years.

Around 40 people take part in the group’s activities on a regular basis, from the able-bodied to those who use wheelchairs, with members enjoying excursions and the chance to make friends.

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Volunteers marked the occasion in style at the Dunterlie Resource Centre as guests from across the years and Provost Jim Fletcher joined them for a party.

Margaret Reilly, Band F chairwoman, told the Barrhead News: “I want to thank everyone who gave up their time to make our day so special.

“We do stuff like painting and knitting and then there are those who just like to come along to catch up on the local gossip.

“We’d like to thank Provost Fletcher for coming along and also thank everyone for all of the cards we received.”

Barrhead News: Margaret Reilly and her husband James with Provost Jim Fletcher (centre)Margaret Reilly and her husband James with Provost Jim Fletcher (centre)

The group was formed in 1994 by Hugh Waters, Betty Patterson, Norrie Rankin and then chairperson Charlie McLaughlin.

Originally meeting in each other’s homes, members of Band F now meet weekly at the resource centre.

Margaret, 72, has been involved for 15 years, along with her husband James, 73, and became chairwoman following Charlie’s death eight years ago.

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The great-grandmother-of-two said: “We invited Charlie’s wife Mary along to the 25th anniversary celebrations and were delighted when she turned up.

“We do our best to keep our members out of the house and we also make sure to visit them when we get the chance.

“We do it all off our own back for the people of Barrhead and Neilston. They know they can phone us anytime and we want to be able to be there for them.

“We are so thankful for the donations from the community and local businesses which have kept us going over the years.”

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