MEMBERS of an international charity branch in Chelmsford forced to dissolve are hopeful a new group will be formed soon.

The Chelmsford and Mid Essex branch of Unicef will officially close after its annual general meeting tonight, after 33 years, due to a drop in volunteer numbers.

Despite this move, it is hoped a new group to represent the charity, run by the United Nations to support children and mothers in developing countries, will be formed in the near future.

Patrick Bermingham, the branch chairman, said the hunt for members to form a new group will start immediately.

He added: “If I can get four or five to form an executive committee then we will be able to plan some fundraising for Unicef campaigns.

“Collections in Chelmsford city centre and in large stores such as Sainsbury’s will give the initial training.

“Many of the people who helped us with our collections in the past will still be available.

“We will later expand into bigger fundraising activities, depending on the skills of the new members.”

He added seeing the branch close down will be emotional.

“Our existing committee were all sad to see the branch end but age limited their activities,” Mr Bermingham said.

“For the new branch we will need, ideally, some active members in their mid-fifties or early sixties, who eventually will be able to organise fundraising events other than static collections with Unicef tins.”