After helping to create a vibrant art scene in Watford, one woman is taking a career break to fulfill a lifelong goal of working in Africa.

Marion Duffin, the arts, events and heritage officer at Watford Borough Council, will be teaching young people with HIV and Aids in Mozambique as a volunteer with the VSO volunteer programme.

Before she flies out on February 7, she will be swotting up on her Portuguese.

And when she arrives in the capital of Maputo, she will enroll on a six-week intensive training course before getting to work with her new students.

“It's something I've always wanted to do,” she said. “I'll be teaching them skills so they can sell their work and make a living.

“It's a kind of life-changing experience [for me]. I have travelled a lot in Africa and wanted to go and live there. It's quite difficult to do that so I have looked at ways to do it.

“VSO is something I've always wanted to do. It will be hard work and I'll be living in basic shared accommodation.”

Marion, 55, who lives in Kilburn, has worked for eight years at Watford Borough Council, where she has been the curator of Watford Museum and manager of the arts and events team. Her last day will be Wednesday, January 26.

She previously worked at the Natural History Museum for ten years, and once ran a stall selling her own clothes and jewellery at Camden Market.

At Watford Museum, she opened a contemporary art gallery and also held theatre and music events at the former Benskins Brewery building.

She also helped to open “pop up” art galleries across the town, oversaw the light installation underneath Bushey Arches and helped to establish the Watford Live festival.

“I will miss all my friends and I will miss not being in Watford,” she said. “You realise when you're leaving somewhere just how many people you have made friends with.

“I do my job because that's what I'm passionate about. It's been good for me here.

“There's some really talented people in Watford – dancers, actors, artists and sculptors. It's really phenomenal. It's interesting because it's proximity to London has always been its downfall but it shouldn't be. It's something we should build on.

“What I have achieved over the years is brought a lot of people together who have not worked together before. I'm always trying to push the barriers.

“Watford has a lot to offer people. There's a lot of talented people here and the more we do to carry on promoting that, the better.”