A PILLAR of the Royal Wootton Bassett community celebrated its 40th anniversary this weekend.

The Old Court Community Pre-school invited pupils past and present for a day of fun on Saturday, which included a live band and a cake especially made by one of the staff.

There was also a cheque presentation by Sainsbury’s, which had named the pre-school its charity of the year and raised £1,375.

Old Court has played an important part in the lives of many residents over its lifetime, with multiple generations attending.

Debbie Lownds, who is the manager, said: “This is a brilliant day for Old Court and I think everyone is very proud to be able to celebrate it.

“Over the years we have played a part in so many families’ lives. A lot of our staff had children who went here and the parents of some of our pupils also attended.

“Before it was a pre-school, St Bartholomew’s was based on the site and I am always approached by people who say they went there as well.

“We wanted today to be a celebration of that, which is why we have invited as many people as possible to come along.”

While the original building still remains, plenty of work has been done to keep it feeling modern, most notably a new canopy.

One of its key strengths has been the low turnover of staff, giving the children continuity as they grow up.

Among them is Tracey Little, who has been a staff member for 20 years and herself attended St Bartholomew’s.

She said: “When my daughter was here I started working a couple of afternoons a week and it has grown from there.

“I really enjoy working here and because we have a really established team, the children don’t have to deal with lots of different people as they come up through the school.

“One of the really nice aspects of the job is seeing the children when they first come to us and then watching them grow before they leave and go onto school.”

Sainsburys raised funds through customer donations and sponsored bag packing.