A PLAYGROUP that has been running for 35 years will hold its final session next week unless someone can be found to take it over.

St Mary's Church Hall Toddler Group in Thornbury holds sessions on Tuesday mornings.

Traditionally it has been run by a group of parents who attend with their children but Fiona Heller has been solely in charge for the last two-and-a-half years.

Fiona is about to return to work following a change in job and the end of maternity leave, so had hoped to find someone to take over.

But attempts to find a replacement have so far been unsuccessful.

"My mum used to help and take me to the group when I was a baby and the same with my brother," she said.

"The group has helped countless parents and carers to get out into the community and engage with other parents.

The sessions, which run from 10am-11.30am, cost £2 per child. Each week there is a craft activity and toys on offer, with free tea and coffee available for parents.

Fiona, who has held fundraisers for the group to buy new toys during her time in charge, is hoping to find someone to start the week after half-term.

However, she says this is flexible and will be around for a while yet to show them how everything works.

"The structure of the group is very relaxed, no pre-booking is required which a lot of attendees find helpful as its not always possible to commit to every week and pay in advance," she said.

Lisa Brimble takes her three-year-old grandson Harry to the group.

She says it would be a shame if it were to end.

"It's been great for us," she said.

"We have been going for about 18 months and its been fantastic.

"It's been really nice to get down there and socialise with other mums, grandpas and grannies.

"It would be so sad for it to stop. It's very valuable for the community.

"It's been very useful, picking up tips from childminders and other mums. It's a really nice group."

Anyone who is interested in running the group should contact Fiona via the St Mary's Church Hall Toddler Group Facebook page.