A VALUABLE VOLUNTEER: A dedicated volunteer is retiring after 25 years of service.

Pensioner Joy Deardon has been working for the Red Cross since 1982 and staff at the Pontypool store have paid tribute to her loyalty.

Manager Lyn Pearce, who will also be retiring in a few weeks, said: "Joy has been the most wonderful volunteer. The shop is going to miss her tremendously. All the customers love her and her customer service was out of this world."

Mrs Deardon first started working for the charity at its centre in Ebbw Vale, before moving to Pontypool.

"I transferred to the Pontypool shop in George Street, in 1986, then it moved to Hanbury Road before going to Crane Street", says Joy.

Mrs Deardon, of Pontnewynydd, will not be leaving the Red Cross entirely, though, she serves on the Red Cross branch council and is also a member of the Voluntary Council for Wales.

Speaking about her retirement from the shop, she said: "I will miss the company. It has been marvellous working so well with Lyn, but I will make sure I still visit everyone, because they are all so very kind and we have had a wonderful time."

Mrs Deardon said she is passionate about informing people about the good work the Red Cross does, both in the UK and overseas and this will continue despite her retirement.

"The shop is the most friendly place you can be and to be a volunteer with the Red Cross is a wonderful job," she added.

"If anybody wants to volunteer, they will have the most wonderful time and they will meet so many people."