IT was an emotional moment as children’s charity NSPCC said goodbye to one its longest serving members.

Lady Jean Stibbon has stepped down as branch president for Swindon and North Wilts after 20 years of helping the town's children.

“It’s hard work to keep a charity going and it takes real dedication and loyalty from everyone involved.

"The people I’ve met over the years have made this role what it is and I will look fondly back on them,” she said.

Lady Stibbon first joined the charity as the chairman of the Shrivingham district branch and from there her reputation grew and she eventually took over the chair at the Swindon branch.

More than £800,000 has been raised during her two decades at the helm.

She said: “Raising the funds that we have has been magical to be a part of.

“I must also say a special mention about Sue Hooper. She was a branch chairman who volunteered for free and she was instrumental in getting us to where we are today.”

One of the reasons behind her decision to step down is health. She explained it had become more difficult for her to get to meetings.

An evening tea party was held in her honour and past and present members all got together to celebrate the occasion.

Newly appointed president Alan Fletcher, who has been involved with the charity for over 25 years, was one of the guests.

He said: “It’s a privilege to take over as president from Lady Jean.

"This will be a very hard act to follow and I hope to do just as good a job as she has.

“Things have changed dramatically with the threats to children compared to 25 years ago and the NSPCC has to change accordingly to help with this.

"I hope to encourage the charity to deal with the threats that modern society throws at youngsters these days.”

The branch is also looking for fresh ideas to help generate more income because fundraising has become more difficult in recent times.