MEMORIES of a popular village 'hang out' for young people will be shared at a special reunion next month.

Bere Regis Youth Club Hut is having a reunion on Sunday May 13 and people's old photos of these magical years are being sought.

The reunion of this lively village group, at Drax Hall in North Street, Bere Regis, will give former youth club members a chance to catch up with old friends and share memories. People will be able to bring along old photos and revisit some of the music of the day. Money will be raised for musical entertainment for a local care home.

The Bere Regis Youth Club in Southbrook thrived for more than three decades and had around 70 members at its peak.

Reunion organiser Alison Bennett said: "During the long successful leadership of Ray Seymour, the village youth club was a vibrant and flourishing group with many enthusiastic members and there was always something exciting happening.

"Youngsters gathered round listening to the top 20 that Ray had recorded the night before from the radio. Sadly a lot of the archived photographs were destroyed. What can never be destroyed are the wonderful memories of the activities of this little wooden hut with great leadership and management committee in place that captured the imagination and enthusiasm of so many of Bere Regis youngsters as they grew up.

"Members obtained permission to collect logs in the forestry and cut them and bag them up to sell, at a very reasonable rate for the youth club funds, to the elderly of the village. Everyone had an open fire in those days and this was a great way for the young to be helping out the older people in the community in a very practical way."

Alison also recalls that during the Youth Club week in October 1970 the members ran a refreshment caravan on the A35 between Bere Regis and Tolpuddle.

She said: "This was a huge success being the only stop for long distance drivers between Exeter and Southampton."

Gloria Curtis, nee Maidment, recalls the wonderful times spent at the Bere Regis Youth Club and the time that they won the Dorset Cup playing netball.

Carnival time provided great excitement at the youth club, especially the year two boys entered the Carnival Queen Competition and went unnoticed until one of them, Kevin Day was given second place, then the judges were informed that it was a boy dressed as a girl!

The youth club played an active part in the carnival, organising a float. The club's water fights are well remembered - the youth club float was renowned for the over use of the water spraying.

Alison said: "Most years a tank or bath tub with an unlimited supply would be situated on the float for people to fill up their washing up liquid bottles, to squirt the passers-by and the crowds that lines the pavements of the village watching the procession."

Excursions to Baggator, the outward bound centre at Dartmoor proved popular. Alison remembers: "Members of the club would go for adventure weekends, to learn rock climbing, caving, canoeing, map reading, and horse riding to name but a few of the activities that were available at the out of the way old Farm House in Peter Tavy in the beautiful moorland at Dartmoor."

Ray Seymour said youth club secretary Molly Carlyle should be thanks for the club's success - staying in her role for more than 30 years. He said: "She later took the role as treasurer and was a great asset to the committee and always there when we needed help. Also Dr Peter Benjafield was a stalwart supporter of the club, he was the president and took an active role within the club as he had a real care and interest for the young people. The 30 Army Youth Team at Bovington Camp also helped greatly in organising many events and projects.”

The reunion will be held on Sunday, May 13 at the Drax Hall, Bere Regis, from 2pm to 5pm. There will be an old Bere Regis photo exhibition in the lower room open to all. In the upper hall there will be a 'catch up café with wagon wheels, bottles of coke and teas and some of the music from over the years. There will also be a raffle. Email with offers of help, or raffle prizes. People are needed to serve teas and meet and greet people. Anyone with old photos can email or drop into 3 Rye Hill Close to scan them.