MORE than 200 people turned out to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a popular Bournemouth pre-school.

The founder of the Corpus Christi pre-school, Margaret Inscoe, was guest of honour at the celebrations and she was joined by many other owners and staff members.

The pre-school operates from a building in the grounds of Corpus Christi church in Boscombe and currently has 28 children on roll, aged between two and four-and-a-half.

It has served the local community for four decades and the current owners - Sarah Keeping, Sandra Barritt and Mary Bradshaw - were staggered by the response when they suggested an anniversary party.

"We thought it was only going to be a small tea party but all of a sudden word got round and a lot of people wanted to come" said Sarah.

"We could not believe the response and it was lovely to see everyone."

Guests enjoyed a party which included entertainment from a Chinese dance troupe and games for children. A collection was made for the charity, Diverse Abilities and parents of children who currently attend the nursery took cakes.

Sarah added: "With many small pre-schools closing nowadays we want to show that these smaller , nurturing, more homely Early Years settings have a very important role in the lives of busy parents and keeping up with the needs of modern families today.

"We work with their parents and carers to lay the vital foundations children need before they can be expected to learn and cope with an ever-changing world.

"We feel we have really adapted over the years and, with the support of the local community, feel we have many more happy yeas to come."

She said Diverse Abilities was chosen to benefit from the collection because the nursery works with many children with Special Educational Needs.