Athelstan Museum stalwart Roger Griffin has retired after more than 30 years of commitment and hard work.

Mr Griffin founded the Friends of Athelstan Museum in 1981 and went on to help restore its fortunes, working to secure it new sources of funding and a complete revamp.

He said: “The best bit about it was managing to save a museum for Malmesbury and improve it considerably.”

At the Athelstan’s AGM last Thursday Mr Griffin was presented with a garden chair and parasol to thank him for his years of hard work.

Angela Sykes, who has worked at the museum for 20 years, said: “He has a long history of good work in the town; he was the mayor at one point and chairman of a number of societies.

“The Athelstan has turned into a really thriving museum, and a lot of that is down to Roger. He’s a really great guy, very popular. We had a very large response for this AGM; everybody is so impressed with what he’s done.”

Canadian Ernest Buchner, who previously ran a museum on Toronto, has taken over the role as chairman of the Friends of Athelstan Museum.

Mr Griffin, a retired vet, said: “Ernest is a very good man to take my place. He will be helped by Mike Johnson from Sherston and they make a very formidable duo. “He moved to Malmesbury recently and came into the museum and volunteered to help but then we found out his background.

“I’m not going to cut the museum out, but it’s time I retired – everything needs change.”

Mr Griffin was named Citizen of the Year at the Malmesbury Citizen of the Year Awards in April for his work at the museum.

In 2010 the museum was awarded £3,250 to fund an outreach project to surrounding villages. It enabled school children, young people, adult learning groups, the disabled, the infirm and those without transport to share their experiences through memory boxes, videos and photographs.