AN OXFORDSHIRE group offering free barge trips along the Kennet and Avon Canal has celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Abingdon Vesper Rotary Club helps everyone from those with disabilities to the elderly get out on the water, including Oxford children's hospice Helen & Douglas House.

Barge organiser John May said: "What a wonderful four weeks of barging again this year. Memories of smiles, laughter, and achievement."

He added: "We got very hot, and we got very wet, but nothing deterred our guests."

Diana, the boat the group hire from the Bruce branch of the Kennet and Avon Canal is fully fitted to accommodate wheelchairs and Mr May said he had 'particularly fond' memories of their last day out earlier this month.

He said: "We had a group that included two guests in wheelchairs and others with challenging conditions. They each needed their own carer on a 1:1 basis.

"They fully participated, got very excited and laughed a lot." Mr May added: "They told us they had achieved things they had not expected to be able to do through helping with the locks and steering the barge. At the end of the day I was tired but just felt a warm glow that we had really helped others and enjoyed doing it.

Over four weeks 112 crew members hosted 285 guests.