A 97-year-old great-grandmother, believed to be the UK’s oldest foodbank volunteer, has launched a call for more people get involved in the charity.

Veteran Joan Hibberd, is the oldest volunteer with Stretford Foodbank, which has just marked a year of collections at Stretford Mall with a landmark 10,000 meals donated by shoppers.

Joan said: “People are so generous, it’s a great thing to be involved with.”

The mum-of six, who has 13 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, thanked shoppers at Stretford Mall for donating more than 4,500 kilos of food, the equivalent of more than 10,000 meals, plus almost £5,000 in monetary donations in 12 months.

Born in 1922, Joan, a regular shopper at Stretford Mall, started volunteering at her local foodbank through her church after losing her husband, Harry, 20 years ago. She has spent the last six and a half years helping to distribute meals to those in need, after a long career which also included being a mother, a butcher’s assistant in Stretford Market, and a lollipop lady.

Joan was joined by the charity’s youngest volunteer, schoolgirl Grace Connors, 14, to launch an appeal for more volunteers of all ages.

She explained: “Some people have been sleeping on the riverbank and they haven’t even got a tin opener. A lot of people have got jobs, but they just don’t have enough money to pay their bills and feed their family that week for one reason or another.

“I know some people get embarrassed to go into a Foodbank. The first time I volunteered an older man came in, he had passed three times before he plucked up the courage to come in.

“Once people have come in, they realise there are so many other people like them who just need that bit of extra help.”

The charity needs more volunteers over the age of 18 to help with jobs including sorting and weighing donations, lifting crates of food, packing food, stacking shelves, driving donations between locations, and dealing with support agencies.

Louise Kershaw, Trustee and Volunteer Co-ordinator for Stretford Foodbank said on average Stretford Foodbank service users receive three emergency food parcels in six months.

However, this can vary, she said: “The Foodbank means so much to our users. It’s the difference between being able to feed their family and not.

“Some people might only come once, while others need more regular support for up to six months.

Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall said: “Stretford Foodbank is an absolutely vital service for those who use it.

“It is wonderful that people like Joan volunteer their time week in week out, what a fantastic contribution!”

Stretford Foodbank collections take place at Stretford Mall every Saturday from 10am until 2pm.