The new curator at the Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre proved she is not afraid to get her hands dirty as she prepared for the latest exhibition.

Melissa Barnett took over from Mike Stone at the museum in High Street three weeks ago, and was thrust into a world of nurses’ outfits, badges and medical equipment that make up the new Red Cross display.

Mrs Barnett, a mother-of-three from Bristol, said: “Instead of being smartly sat in my office when people have come to see me, I have been found on the floor sticking things for the exhibition.

“We were very proud to host it because of all the Red Cross has done for the town. It was a very good one to start off on and a nice way to get to know the people of Chippenham who have contributed to it.”

The exhibition commemorates 100 years of the Red Cross in Chippenham and has been co-ordinated by Ivy Ward, a volunteer with the charity locally for more than 50 years.

“I have to thank Ivy for all her help with this exhibition,” Mrs Barnett said. “She has even let us borrow Len, the skeleton, who was donated to the Red Cross instead of flowers at her husband’s funeral.”

Mrs Barnett said she is excited about her new post and looks forward to working with the museum’s team of 75 volunteer wardens, assistant curator Paul Connell and administration staff Julie Shore and Julie Brind.

“I have had many occasions to visit Chippenham Museum and I have always loved it,” she said. “It is bright, welcoming and perfectly formed. Mike will be a hard act to follow but I hope to build on his work here.”

Mrs Barnett studied archaeology at Cardiff University and has been the curator at three town museums – Llanidloes, Welshpool and Banbury.

For the last ten years she worked as the museum and heritage officer for South Gloucester Council, and hopes to set up a friends group for the museum.