A MARIE Curie fundraising group has marked its 20th anniversary with a celebratory afternoon tea party to thank local people and businesses for helping to raise a staggering £450,000 since it was launched.

The charity's Kirkbymoorside & District Fundraising Group launched in 1999 and the total money it has raised so far has helped fund more than 22,500 hours of nursing care.

More than 150 loyal supporters descended on the Moorside Club in Kirkbymoorside to enjoy the birthday party and celebrate the milestone.

In addition to helping with the charity’s annual fundraising campaigns such as the Great Daffodil Appeal and the Blooming Great Tea Party, the group has staged a series of events over the years, including war weekend dances, sponsored Farndale daffodil walk, memorial tractor run, Ryedale garage coffee day, Sleightholmedale open gardens and Welburn Manor car boot sale.

Founding member and current chair of the group, June Cook, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of members of the community and local businesses who have supported us and donated generously year on year and would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone.”

The group, which includes more than 20 members and volunteers, was set up by June Cook, Pam Dixey, Joyce Wood, Jean Horne and Jill O’Brian following a presentation given by a Scarborough-based fundraiser.