THE community has come together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Wellington Youth Centre.

The centre was opened 50 years ago on November 19, 1969, when Katharine, Duchess of Kent, visited the town.

A group of people present at the opening attended the centre on Monday to mark the anniversary, and to reminisce on 50 years ago.

They met with the Court Fields Preschool children who now use the building, as well as representatives from other services which use the facilities to provide services for young people in the town.

Greg Dyke, Wellington Town Council's former clerk, who was at the opening 50 years ago, spoke at the gathering to praise the centre for all it has done for the area.

He said: "November 19 1969 was a big day for me. It was my mother's 45th birthday, as well as the opening day for the centre.

"It was an enormous amount of money we had to raise to get the centre open.

"It was a great deal of fun, but also very hard work.

"When the Duchess of Kent opened the centre, we were all feeling very important.

"The journey was just as enjoyable as the destination.

"Here we are 50 years later, in a much improved youth centre.

"I hope it continues for a long time to come."

The centre was previously managed by Somerset County Council, but the authority stopped funding around 2011.

Since then, the Wellington Community Support Services looks after the facilities, headed up by councillor Andy Govier and a handful of other volunteers.

Young Somerset runs youth services from the centre, as well as other community groups making use of it.

Cllr Govier said: "We took over the management from SCC.

"We think it's important to give support to the young people of the town.

"It gives them positive activities to do, and somewhere safe to go to.

"It's amazing that 50 years on it's still going, it would have provided for thousands of people by now.

"We are hopeful we can keep it going, hopefully for another 50 years."

Cllr Govier added having the preschool on site gives the group confidence they can keep the centre going.

Mayor of Wellington, Janet Lloyd, said it was 'wonderful' to reach the 50th anniversary, and it was a real asset to the town.