THE WINCHESTER branch of a national charity celebrated 25 years of service to the local community.

Some 60 people tucked into lunch to mark Winchester branch of Parkinson’s UK reaching a major milestone.

Actress Jane Asher, President of Parkinson’s UK, supplied the icing and plaque for the beautiful birthday cake which was made by the daughter of a local sufferer.

In 1988, founder members were invited to an inaugural dinner at Abbey House, official residence of the Mayor.

A quarter of a century later, the tables were turned and the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Ernie Jeffs, was invited to lunch at Millenium Hall in Littleton.

Other guests at the lunch included volunteers, carers, sufferers, their families and friends.

All thanked Myra Clare, chairman for the past 16 years who was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012, and the very first chairman, Syliva Stops.

Both women have devoted a large part of their lives to fundraising for research into treatments and a possible cure for the devastating disease.

Just a few months ago, Miss Stops did her first charity skydive at the age of 89 from 14,000 ft over Salisbury Plain. The retired physiotherapist raised £6,000 from the tandem jump.