February 1 saw a unique ceremony at Upper Norwood Joint Library when its four longest registered members were honoured at a special presentation.

Wanting to celebrate the sort of people who have used the library all their lives, the librarians scoured their registers and turned up the four library users with the oldest reading tickets.

Their ages ranged from 84 to 96, with their shared membership of the library topping 200 years.

Along with Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks, Jackie Meldrum of Lambeth Council awarded the four readers special commemorative paintings of the library by local artist Audrey Hammond.

Children from Lambeth's Paxton Primary School then performed a short play featuring Harry Potter, the boy wizard who has done so much to encourage young children to read.

One of the four honoured, Jack Russell of Gipsy Hill - the youngest of the quartet at 84 - particularly remembered reading a biography of Vera Lynn during his time in military hospital after being wounded in Burma.

Uniquely placed at the junction of five different boroughs on Westow Hill, Upper Norwood Joint Library has been managed jointly by councillors from Croydon and Lambeth since 1898 but is not actually part of either borough's library service.

With over 70,000 issues a year, it is the last surviving Independent Library in Britain. For information contact David Green of the Labour Action Team on 07949 534605 or head librarian Bradley Millington on 020 8670 2551.