A 'BEAUTIFUL' celebration was under way as a home which provides sheltered accommodation turned half a century.

The Mayor of Bury, Cllr Jane Black, joined residents, relatives and staff past and present for Abbeyfield House's 50th birthday on Saturday.

It was a double celebration for resident Harry Garstang whose 98th birthday coincided with the occasion.

Abbeyfield House in Turks Road was the first of its kind in the North West when it opened its doors to its first residents on Saturday 14, 1968, providing two meals a day, and company or privacy as desired.

The Abbeyfield scheme was built on the fact that it is much cheaper to put several people into one house than into separate houses. It caters for seven residents in private bedsits at any one time.

Home manager Beverley Williams said: "It was a wonderful afternoon.

"More than 50 people attended as we celebrated the home's 50th birthday. We were joined by the Mayor of Bury, Cllr Jane Black, and singer Sarah Dennis.

"We also invited relatives of people who have stayed here.

"We had a beautiful cake, kindly donated by Fraser Carr from Slattery's, whose grandad stayed here.

"It was a lovely celebration."

One of the guests at the celebration, Jean Adamson, and her late husband were involved in fundraising for the house with the Inner Wheel Club, Round Table and Ladies' Circle, before it opened.

The couple ran Radcliffe Abbeyfield Society until 2004, when it became part of Bury Abbeyfield Society."

Mrs Williams became the manager in 2006 but her history with the site dates back to 1970 when her grandmother became its housekeeper and they both lived at the home for six years.

Mrs Williams said: "When they were short-staffed, I helped out. I was about 15 then.

"Over the years, when they had nobody to sleep in, I was called upon to stay overnight.

"I feel as though I have been connected with the home for 48 years.

"I'm very passionate about the home. There is nothing I would not do for these people."