A DEDICATED volunteer who has given up 20 years of her life to charity retired from Barnardo’s in Westbury on Monday.

Kathleen Leach, 87, from Dilton Marsh has been supporting Barnardo’s for two decades, starting at the Kingsway Precinct store in Frome and ending at the Palomino Place store in Westbury.

On Monday afternoon Mrs Leach was joined by past and present Barnardo’s volunteers from the Frome and Westbury stores as well as friends and family, and was presented with a rose bowl, flowers and certificate.

She said: “Volunteering gave me a reason to get out of the house rather than just sitting in a chair all day, and it was really nice to be supporting a children’s charity.

“Most of my time was spent supporting the Frome store but the bus journey was quite long so I switched to the Westbury store when it opened as it was much closer to home.

“I was still volunteering for an afternoon each week but decided that it was finally time for me to take a break.

“I realised during the winter and the cold months, as much as I love doing it, it just got a little too hard.

“I’ll miss it very much but I’ll still pop in to say hello.”

Over the time she spent volunteering with Barnardo’s, Mrs Leach became so popular with customers’ children that she became known as Auntie Kath.

Store associate Debbie Griffiths said: “Kath has demonstrated an amazing commitment to the charity and she’ll be sorely missed.”

“She has been wonderful to work with, she is such a character.

“She is full of life and says it how it is, and she’s been great with the customers.

“Kath will certainly be missed in the shop, she is very well known and I’m sure people will be asking after her, after all she’s Auntie Kath.”

“She is a credit to all 87 year olds, and if I can be like Kath when I am her age I will be extremely happy.”

The Westbury store is open Monday-Saturday from 9am-5.30pm and on Sundays from 10am-4pm.

The team always welcome donations of good-quality clothes, books, toys, games, accessories and bric-a-brac, as well as offers of help from potential volunteers. For more information please call 01373 822515