A morning tea with muffins, cheese and crackers, tiny cakes, grapes and a towering homemade sponge cake crammed with jam and cream was set up in honour of two valuable volunteers retiring from Marton Library after nearly 30 years.

Ann Collins and Barbara Lee-Jones were thrilled as they were feted with huge bunches of flowers, party food and tea served in floral china cups, not to mention the dozens of staff and friends who had gathered to wish them well.

The two women, who are in their "late 80s", said volunteering at the small, cosy library had been a great pleasure.

"I always looked forward to my shift at the library and always felt as I was really helping the team. I didn't really want to retire but I've moved to Whanganui and the drive is a bit much for me nowadays," Barbara said.

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Her main task on each shift was to line all the latest newspapers up on wooden rods in the morning.

"You would be just amazed at the number of people who come into this library. It's a real social hub of the community,'' she said.

Ann, who stacked shelves, said there were always books to put away.

"It has a great membership here and people come in regularly to borrow books, have a quiet read or work on the computers,'' Ann said.

But sadly for Ann her Parkinson's condition has reached the stage where it's difficult for her to walk and she has to wear special boots.

"Makes me look like a space man or someone out of Star Wars,'' she laughed.

Both women have lived most of their married lives in Marton, Ann still does.
"It's such a friendly, nice place,'' they said.

After living on a farm just outside Marton, Barbara said they had moved to the ''city".

"Whanganui is a lovely place to live. I'm sorry to leave the library but very happy to be in Whanganui.''