TWO Brownies leaders are celebrating 25 years of service at the unit they joined when they were youngsters.

Karen Grainger and Elizabeth Farrell met at the age of 11 at the 11th Bolton (Bank Top) Guide Unit, and six years later they became Young Leaders before progressing to be warranted adult leaders.

The women were honoured at a surprise celebration evening where they were awarded with flowers and a cake after Claire Critchley, another young leader at the unit, found out they had both been leaders for a quarter of a century.

Miss Critchley arranged for the Lancashire Border County Commissioner Susan Smart to present them with a “County Thank You Badge” and certificate in front of a number of commissioners, leaders, friends and family who had come along to show their support.

Miss Farrell, aged 44, from Sharples, said: “We could see something was going on because all these people who wouldn’t normally be at the meeting turned up.

“We just love helping the children learn different things that they would in school. Thinking about it we’ve probably seen hundreds of children join and grow up over the years, which is unbelievable.”

Miss Grainger, aged 42, from Sharples, said: “We both get so much out of doing it and get to take part in experiences that you wouldn’t in any other job so it was a lovely surprise to get the award.”

County Commissioner Susan Smart added: “Twenty five years of dedication to a unit is a wonderful achievement.

Over this time hundreds of girls’ lives have been enhanced by the dedication and commitment given to them by Karen and Elizabeth.

Girls who through these leaders’ dedication have been given the wonderful opportunities that the organisation offers.”