GOOD samaritans in Thornbury started their silver jubilee year with a flourish as they received an excellence award.

The Volunteer Centre turned 25 this month and to mark the momentous anniversary founding and current members gathered at the town hall for a jubilee launch party. Joined by local dignitaries including Ceri Evans, the county's deputy lieutenant, district council chairman Janet Biggin and town Mayor Phyllida Parsloe they looked back on the charity's glorious history and remembered its many success stories.

The festivities were also the occasion for the group to celebrate scooping the Volunteer Centre Quality Credit Accreditation - a testament to its indefatigable work and boundless dedication over the years.

Barbara Ray, Volunteer Centre chairman, said: "For a small local charity it’s a great achievement to reach 25 years and we want as many people as possible to embrace the work we do and encourage them to get involved in helping their local community to flourish and grow." Established in 1988 by a handful of councillors and residents, the centre soon built a solid reputation and grew in size. It now regularly works in partnership with local schools, encouraging pupils to get involved in their communities. Scooping a quality award was no mean feat according to development co-ordinator Kim Webb.

"We are delighted to have achieved Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation," she said. "The standard expected by Volunteering England is very high. "The whole ethos of volunteering, including the benefits to the volunteer, is something that everyone involved with the Thornbury Volunteer Centre is really passionate about."

The centre is constantly striving to attract new recruits. It recently revamped its website and reached out to a wider audience by boosting its social media presence.

As part of the anniversary celebrations members have planned a busy programme of events throughout the year, starting with a business breakfast on February 27 to encourage professionals and entrepreneurs to share their expertise with community groups. To find out about the centre’s jubille events call 01454 4133 or emal Alternatively visit or follow the centre on Twitter: @thornburyvc or Facebook: thornburyvolunteers