Dedicated volunteers are needed to help run the Operation Christmas Child appeal, following the retirement of long-term coordinator Hilary McFall.

About 200 friends and colleagues joined Mrs McFall at Melksham Baptist Church on Saturday, where she was presented with bouquets of flowers to mark her 21 years of running the appeal.

She said: “It was absolutely fantastic. It was really touching, and I was amazed to see so many people.”

The Wiltshire branch now wants to move from Melksham and find a new co-ordinator.

Roger Fenton, regional manager of Samaritan’s Purse, the charity which runs the appeal, said: “Hilary is a really special person and she’s done a special job for 20-odd years, and literally thousands of people have benefitted.

“It’s a big role for people to take on and to make it work at Christmas it’s an all-year task.”

He added that if anyone wants to take on the role he would like to hear from them.

Mrs McFall said: “It depends on how much time you have, you can do as little or as much as you like. When I started I didn’t know how much it was going to involve and it just grew and grew.

“It would be lovely if it stayed locally, but there will still be drop-offs at different places across the county.

“I need to say thank you to everyone who came on Saturday and for all their support.

People can contact Mr Fenton on 07900 270159.