A YOUTH club manager said it has been a "joy and a pleasure" to entertain Weymouth’s children as she retires after 38 years in post.

Janette Martindill was inundated with cards and messages of appreciation as she stepped down as manager of the Whizz Kids activity club which has operated out of Radipole United Reform Church since the 1970s.

For almost four decades the 67-year-old has dedicated her Friday nights to providing entertainment, activities and a safe space for hundreds of children between the ages of six and 11.

"I have loved it from start to finish and I’m struggling with the idea of it finishing," said Janette.

"The final session was extremely emotional. l tried to keep it under control, especially with the children involved, but then one little chap read out a piece he had prepared for me and it just broke my heart."

With no-one able to fill the void, Janette's retirement means the long-established youth club will not continue after the summer break.

She said: "It was probably one of the hardest decisions I've ever made, but I'm 68 this year and it's a big commitment with a lot of planning involved.

"I just felt I wanted to end on a positive note. A lot of the children we have at the moment are going up to secondary school this year so it felt like a good time to leave."

Over the years Janette has organised all sorts of activities from drama, to crafts and each year helps the youngsters put on talent show for Children in Need and carol singing for Julia's House at Christmas.

She said: "We've had some amazing performances from children over the years. I wanted Whizz Kids to be a positive environment that gives children confidence in themselves. I wanted to give them a sense of self-worth so they could learn to respect themselves and each other."

One of her most famous former members includes Perrie Edwards of Little Mix fame who used to attend with her brother and cousins.

Before retiring Janette juggled the demands of the youth club with her full-time career as a scientist at Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment alongside amateur dramatics and numerous other community groups.

Church member Janet Lovell said: "She set up the youth club because she saw a need in the area particularly for the little ones. Children always enjoyed it and had lots of fun, they absolutely love her.

"The group will be missed. It has always been quite well known in the community and many of the original children who used to go are now seeing their children go-I think we are now even looking at the third generation."