Friends shared fond memories of a popular church group set up in 1937 at a reunion last weekend.

The annual get-together has been running for 21 years as a way for former members of the St Alban's Club - established at St Alban's Church Hall in The Ridgeway, North Harrow - to catch up.

Some of them had flown in from abroad to gather at The Leefe Robinson pub in Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, on Saturday, May 17 to reminisce about all the fun they had.

Michael Reade, 74, from Hatch End, has great memories of donning jackets and flannel trousers and heading out for the evening to meet girls.

"I started going in 1947. It was held every Friday. We played badminton, table tennis, went on hikes and put on plays and pantomimes," he recalled.

"We usually got 30 to 40 people on Fridays, but not necessarily the same people every week.

"The criteria was that you had to be a church attendee to be eligible to go along to the youth club."

Mr Reade took leading roles in the plays as well as giving a helping hand with props and stage management.

He said: "We had them in the church hall and they were very good amateur productions.

"We had them at least once a year and we did a panto some years."

Mr Reade met his future wife, Valerie, now 72, at the group, when they were introduced by a mutual friend and ended up starring alongside each other in several dramas.

"Quite a few of the couples that came to the reunion actually met each other at the club," he said.

"I remember one particular outing when we went to Southend-on-Sea by coach for the Christmas illuminations.

"In fact, two of the people there on Saturday sat across the aisle from me and my wife, or girlfriend as she was then."

Congregation members John Williams - known as 'Pop' - and his wife Sally started the club to provide teenagers and young adults, aged between 13 and 21, with something to do.

John Watford, 74, of Newport Pagnell, Bucks, said: "They were like surrogate parents to us: you could go to them and talk about anything."

He was just 16 when he joined the club and enjoyed some of the treks that Mr Reade spoke about.

"There were numerous hikes on Bank Holidays, usually in the Chesham or Great Missenden, area in Buckinghamshire. We used to go for a ramble and a general laugh," Mr Watford said.

Four or five times a year the teenagers would organise ballroom dances on a Saturday evening, where they would get dressed up and party the night away in the hall they had decorated themselves.

Mr Watford said: "You would meet with your friends and make friends along the way with people you would-n't meet through your school.

"A number of us were in Scouts or Girl Guides so we did structured activities but you didn't mix with members of the opposite sex.

"The club allowed you to do things that you wouldn't normally do."

It was the son and daughter-in-law of the original founders, Terry and Margaret Williams, of Horsham, West Sussex, who organised the first reunion, in 1987, to mark the club's 50th anniversary.

They held them every other year until 2003 when the present reunion committee - Mr Reade, Mr Watford and a third man named John Marr - took over and began to host them annually.

Forty people turned up for the latest reunion to share their experiences.

Mr Watford said he was not surprised, given that the St Alban's Club was unmissable for the teenagers it catered for.

"The club was very important to us. It was just good fun all the way through."