A BOURNEMOUTH church forced out of its town centre location by a shopping centre development is celebrating 30 happy years in its new location.

St Paul’s Church was based in the Lansdowne area of Bournemouth from the 19th century until it was compulsorily purchased by the developers of the Asda supermarket.

It moved to Landford Way in Throop and has enjoyed three successful decades as the area’s only community facility.

The church will mark its 30th anniversary over the weekend of July 12 and 13 with an open house and cream teas at 2pm on the Saturday and a special thanksgiving service at 10am on Sunday. This service will include the cutting of a birthday cake and will be followed by games and a picnic in the park.

Rev Dr Rohintan Mody, who has been at the church for around three years, said: “We really want to invite the community in as we celebrate 30 years in this location.

“I think it’s a location that has worked very well for us. There’s a lot of housing here so there’s a lot of people and I think the community appreciate the church because we are the only community building in this area.”

The church has a growing congregation and attracts around 200 people on Sundays. It also has a popular youth section and around 100 children and teenagers attend the church every Friday evening for games and activities.

Parents are invited to stay and have a tea or coffee while their children attend the youth group and there is also a teen group that meets on Sunday evenings.

The church premises is also home to an oversubscribed pre-school and a popular parent and toddler group.