ONE of Greenock's oldest and best loved charities has said a fond farewell to its long serving financial director.

Chartered accountant Tom Neill is retiring from his role with the Greenock Medical Aid Society after 42 years.

In that time he has navigated the organisation safely through many major changes and a massive expansion since his arrival in 1977.

The hugely respected accountant paid tribute to the commitment and compassion of the staff and those behind the scenes.

Speaking at his retiral presentation, Tom said: "This has been much more than a job, it has been a vocation for me.

"I am very proud to be part of the Greenock Medical Aid Society."

Greenock Medical Aid cares for elderly people in care homes Glenfield and Bagatelle, as well as running sheltered housing complex Bagatelle Court.

In his farewell speech Tom spoke of the long and proud history of the society, which was founded in 1876 but was formed from another earlier charity.

They moved to Glenfield House in Bedford Street in 1920 and by their centenary year in 1976 there was a growing need to increase capacity.

An appeal committee was set up, chaired by Duncan Drummond, to raise money for the extensions to the care home.

Tom joined the society a year later and took it though major projects including the building of Bagatelle in Eldon Street and all the extensions that followed in Eldon Street.

Bagatelle was opened in 1990 with the late Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister, officially doing the honours during a visit later.

At Tom's presentation the management, staff and residents gathered to pay warm tributes to the finance director.

Glenfield care manager Carol Chiverton, who has worked with him for 22 years, said: "Tom has done a great job and deserves great credit.

"He will be sadly missed."

Tom is now planning to spend more time with his family and pursuing other interests.