The Salvation Army in Lockerbie will this weekend celebrate 25 years since establishing its community church in the town.
Led by Captains Chris and Andrina Downie, and supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, the church is home to a number of vital services including a charity shop, cafe and lunch club.
But while it was the Salvation Army's base that was officially established in 1993, its work in Lockerbie actually began five years earlier when more than 200 Salvation Army volunteers responded in the immediate aftermath of the Lockerbie Disaster.
Salvation Army officers and volunteers continued to visit the town to offer counselling in the months and years afterwards before a permanent presence was eventually established – first in the form of charity shop and then its community church on Station Road.
This weekend's anniversary celebrations will be led by Commissioners Anthony and Gillian Cotterill – the territorial leaders of the Salvation Army in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Commissioner Anthony said he was looking forward to the weekend and revealed how his last visit to Lockerbie was as one of those 200 Salvation Army volunteers who made their way to help in the town’s hour of need.
He said: “I’m looking forward to returning to Lockerbie to mark and celebrate 25 years of a permanent Salvation Army presence in the town.
“My last visit to the town was a prolonged one under desperately difficult and harrowing circumstances almost 30 years ago. It would be true to say that the experience of those days has had an immense influence upon my appreciation of life and of service.”
Lockerbie Salvation Army church leader Captain Andrina said: “While many things have changed since our early beginnings here, the Salvation Army remains at the heart of the community.
"We are thankful to God for all He has done through the Salvation Army in Lockerbie. We are also thankful for our members and volunteers, the local community and churches for their work and support over the years.
“This weekend is a chance to celebrate all that and we are delighted to welcome Commissioners Anthony and Gillian to lead our celebrations."
The event will also be attended by Majors Richard and Ann Borrett, leaders of the Salvation Army's West Scotland Division.
Major Ann: “These anniversary celebrations are important because they help us recognise the vital work being carried out by our officers, volunteers and staff in supporting those who need our help the most.”
(Photo credit: Salvation Army Heritage Centre)