A HISTORY group founded 35 years ago marked its anniversary with a gathering of members old and new.

The 35th anniversary of the Worthys History Group was celebrated with a reception and book launch at St Mary's Church, Kings Worthy.

Founding member Pamela Johnston, a former history teacher at St Swithuns School, signed copies of her book, 'Worthy Causes' - a selection of articles written over the years on the major events in the Worthys, but also topics like the fight of women in Southampton for the right to vote.

Since 1982 the group has amassed almost 15,000 pages and photos in its archives, which are now digitised.

Membership stands at around 100 and there are regular meetings, with lectures and walkabouts.

It publishes a journal, Worthy History, and has released a hardback book, A History of the Worthy Villages.

Another founding member Dr Barry Shurlock said: "It’s amazing that after all this time we still are gathering new material and finding completely new stories.

"Pamela was the bedrock of the society and it is fitting that to celebrate our 35th anniversary we acknowledge all that she has done.

"When we started computers were very new, but now with the internet, digital cameras and social media we are able to achieve so much more."

At the event, he told members of the recent discovery that Jesse Carter, the founder of the world-renowned Poole Pottery, had been brought up in Abbots Worthy in a family of smalltime builders.

He also told the story of Juliet Martin of Martyr Worthy, who learnt how to fix cars and motorbikes in the Second World War before founding a garage business at Easton, which led to the present firm of Mould & Thompson.

Secretary of the group, Derek Brockway, said: "This has been a very happy and relaxed event where we were joined by Revd. Paul Bradish, councillor Jane Rutter and councillor Jackie Porter.

"We always welcome new members who can find out more about us at www.worthyhistory.org - something that would certainly not have been possible 35 years ago.

"The reason local history is so important is that people have a sense of place and where they belong. It is by studying the past and recording what is happening now that we can in fact influence the future."