A WELL-LOVED amateur dramatic group has clocked up a quarter of a century of sending audiences home happy.

Pershore Operatic and Dramatic Society, known affectionately as PODS, gathered for its inaugural meeting at the town’s Baptist Church on January 25, 1989, when 74 people turned up

That meeting was held by Judy and Stuart Megarry, who had more than 20 years’ experience of acting, directing and producing between them, and the society’s first show, Songs from the Shows, performed at Pershore High School in May of that year.

Twenty-five years on society is now the resident theatre company at the town's Number 8 Community Arts Centre , having opened the High Street-based venue's gala night in December 2004.

Prior to this rehearsals took place in the back of the New Inn, various village halls, Cherry Orchard House, the Almonry and then to the Old Music Hall, which became known as the PODS Centre.

A spokesman forthe society said: "Over the years, PODS have had many members and great friendships have been made. With a combination of hard work, great talent and team spirit, the brand name PODS, has really grown to mean something."

In May Mr and Mrs Megarry were invited to a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of all their hard work with PODS and the arts in the area.

The society's 63rd show will be Pickwick in June and this will be followed by a Christmas variety show featuring a wassail in December and then Carousel in June next year.

Its youth section, PODYS, are putting on the Pajama Game on Friday and Saturday, February 21-22.

For more information, call the society's chairman Mary Pawsey on 01386 552428.