GROUPS of Brownies were transformed into wizards and witches for the day with the help of the East Lancashire Railway.

To celebrate the 100th birthday of the organisation, youngsters were projected into the world of Harry Potter, and used the heritage railway as their very own Hogwarts Express, the train which takes students to the school of witchcraft and wizardry.

More than 600 youngsters who attended the fun event in Bury came face-to-face with characters from the film, including Professor McGonagall, Hagrid, and Professor Dumbledore, who greeted them on the train.

Activities at the Drill Hall, which became Hogwarts for the day, included a performance of magic and a show by the ‘Creepy Crawly Man’ who took a selection of snakes, locusts and spiders as well as an owl.

Brownie groups included 7th Radcliffe, 12th Radcliffe 77th St Andrew’s and 3rd Whitefield groups.

The Mayor of Bury Cllr Michelle Wiseman attended and also enjoyed the festivities and journey on the train.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Joan Grimshaw went along with her granddaughter, Grace, who is a brownie, and said both generations enjoyed the day.

She said: “Grace had a wonderful time, and I’m so impressed at how well organised the event is.

“The volunteers have made this such a memorable Brownie Birthday celebration, and must be congratulated.”

Bolton Brownie groups also took part, and Glynis Brown of the 8th Bolton group described it as the “best Brownie event I’ve ever been involved with.”

She said: “I have been doing Brownies since 1981, and I was 65 on the June 1 this year, so this was my last big adventure with Brownies and it was really special.”