Friends of popular Red Cross volunteer Ivy Ward have planted a rose in a Chippenham park in her memory.

Mrs Ward, who lived in Broomfield, Chippenham, and died in May last year, was involved with the British Red Cross for 45 years.

Born in 1927, she joined as a voluntary aid detachment nurse in 1965 and went on to become Wiltshire’s first female ambulance officer for the Red Cross, driving a Bedford.

She was centre organiser for the Chippenham branch from the late 1980s until 1995.

About 20 friends gathered in John Coles Park on Friday, where Mrs Ward’s children William and Mary planted a commemorative red rose.

They were joined by friends and dignitaries from the British Red Cross, including Penny Noad who was president of the Wiltshire branch until 2001.

A plaque was put up, funded by the Red Cross link group for volunteers in Chippenham, which Mrs Ward organised.

One of the members Cora Nicholls, 61, said: “It was an emotional afternoon. Ivy was a lovely lady, very active in the community, well-known and well-liked.”

Fellow link group member, Mary Harrington, said: “I know that Ivy would have been really pleased by the ceremony. We miss her like mad, she was quite a character.

“We planted the rose opposite her former home and one of the members will check on it regularly as she runs around the park every day.”

In 2010 Mrs Ward opened a rose garden in Ivy Lane, which was donated by Chippenham Town Council to celebrate a century of hard work by Red Cross volunteers in Chippenham.

Mrs Ward also volunteered for Age Concern and Arthritis Care and was a warden at Chippenham Museum.

In 2003 she was awarded a Chippenham Civic Award for her charity work, followed a year later by an MBE.