Facebook group Malmesbury Now & Then is celebrating its 5th Birthday in June.

The group, created by passionate members of the historic town in 2015, aims to retell stories ‘back in the day’ and help rekindle past relationships.

Malmesbury Now and Then is a Facebook group set up to help people who lived in Malmesbury when they were young, to reconnect with old school friends and share their experiences of the town.

It also serves as a window into the town’s past for people who are new to the area.

From the beginning, Malmesbury Now & Then has supported the Athelstan Museum and the Malmesbury Civic Trust raising over £7,500 for both charities in 2019.

Founder Alison Cross-Jones said: “I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. The group’s exceeded all my expectations.

"Over the last five years we’ve seen numerous reunion events, other groups have stemmed from this group, our membership of over 4,000 now covers almost every corner of the globe and of course we’ve had a bestselling book and another to be published at the end of this year.

"I can’t thank the members enough for their support and contributions over these last 5 years. Without them there wouldn’t be a group.

“I’m lucky to have and continue to be supported by a great admin team, a devoted book team too. This has been a team effort from day one.”

To celebrate, the group has expanded its reach and earlier this month launched three new groups which are already proving to be just as popular; Malmesbury Villages Now & Then, Royal Wootton Bassett Now & Then and Lyneham Now & Then.

There are plans to start Cirencester Now & Then as well as other groups across Wiltshire and Gloucestershire too.

“We plan to expand groups across Wiltshire and Gloucestershire," Alison continued.

"It’s a great way of keeping heritage and history alive. It’s learning history in a different way.

“The Royal Wootton Bassett and Malmesbury Villages groups already have over 500 members each. We’re looking for people to join us and become admins of other groups.

"So please for those interested email: malmesburynowandthen@gmail.com."

Hay Blake group admin added: “As we celebrate another year of the Malmesbury Now & Then group, I remain very proud of how the group is still growing five years on.

"It’s great to see so many people sharing photos of our beautiful town, both from the past and present.

“We see people reconnecting with old friends as well as sharing stories & memories, its lovely to be a part of it all. The stories and pictures are truly fascinating.

“We saw the successful release of our first book last winter which was a sell out and enjoyed by so many people.

"It is exciting that book two is underway too!

"Many Thanks to Charles Vernon and the book team for dedicating their time to this.

“I personally would like to thank my fellow admins, Alison, John & Sue for making this group a pleasure to be a part of and of course all the members of Malmesbury Now and Then.”

Sue Savine of the admin team said: “Being a member of this group and one of the admin team, is one of the happiest times of my life.”

“Our fellow members share photos or stories that evolve into wonderful memories.

"A highlight for me has been learning so much more about the town and its history.

"I’m amazed at our achievements not least fourth coming second Malmesbury Now and Then book to be published later this year.

"Over 200 people have subscribed before the book is even published.

“I’d like thank Alison Cross-Jones for setting this friendly group up, to my fellow admins and all the members for bringing the history of Malmesbury alive for us all to enjoy.”

To find out more or to start a Now & Then Facebook community group in your area please contact: malmesburynowandthen@gmail.com