CELEBRATIONS to mark the 60th anniversary of the Bridport and Lyme Regis Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) got under way at the weekend.

A diamond jubilee dinner was held at Highlands End on Saturday - 60 years to the day after the founding of the organisation on March 15, 1948.

Partly funded by a lottery grant of over £2,000, guest of honour at the glittering occasion was Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire.

Other guests included Bridport Mayor Geoff Ackerman who was also representing the Royal British Legion, Capt John Bench representing the Royal Naval Association and Air Commodore Barry Jones who flew the flag for the Royal Air Forces Association.

During the dinner the local branch was presented with a certificate to mark their 60 years service to all serving, ex-serving members and families of RAF personnel.

On Sunday members were joined by representatives of other uniformed organisations for a march through Bridport, the standard being carried by Alan Kidson.

Sponsored by Guy Crabb Plumbing and Heating Ltd the parade, lead by the St Swithuns Band, set off from Bucky Doo Square where the salute was taken by ACM Sir John Cheshire.

Other ex-service organisations taking part included the Royal Naval Association, Royal British Legion, the Wool Aircrews Association and the Burma Star Association, as well the Bridport Flight of the Air Cadets.

An ecumenical service was held at Mary's Church where the address was given by Major Ruth Hill of the Salvation Army.

Mr Kidson said the weekend had gone "swimmingly" and the weather had been kind. Everyone had enjoyed the dinner and The Air Chief Marshal had given a "wonderful" speech.

He said the aim of the celebrations was to remind people of the work the association did, both in helping ex service personnel and its social events, and encourage more people to join. Membership was not restricted to people who had served in the air forces - others could sign up as associate members and support the cause. To find out more call Mr Kidson on Bridport (01308) 420135.

* The Bridport and Lyme Regis branches of the RAFA were combined in May 1959.