AFTER 28 years of volunteering, a dedicated manager has bid a final farewell to her beloved shop.
Shirley Mallard, 79 from Cosham is going into retirement after Oxfam closed its Cosham high street store last weekend.
She said: ‘I just kept volunteering but it will be sad to leave my staff and customers.
‘It’s sad, we are really sad to be going. I don’t know what I will do with myself to start with but I will be busy.
‘I will miss all the company and all the talking because I’m a person who doesn’t stay indoors and not do anything, and I have a nice crowd here.’
Over the years Shirley has seen many volunteers come and go, who have become her extended family.
‘When I first started here I had 42 members of staff but now I have 13 who all do different hours and some who have been here for many years.’
Some of these volunteers still come into the shop to see Shirley when they are in Cosham.
‘I had one girl pop in the other day who volunteered here when she was a teenager and she came in with her baby, I couldn’t believe it as I remembered her when she was younger,’ said Shirley.
The staff at the shop have been sharing their memories of Shirley as a manager and as a friend.
Marion Pegg from Purbook has worked in the shop for 12 years and has become close friends with Shirley.
‘She is a great manager and a friend. If we need her she is there but we know that she can tell us what to do and let us get on with it,’ said Marion.
Brenda Bayliss has known Shirley for 20 years and has become her best friend over that time.
She said: ‘We have looked after each other throughout that time and it will be really sad but we will definitely still see each other.’
Hampshire Oxfam area manager Veronica Raymond said: ‘It is a happy environment here.
‘Shirley’s enthusiasm for the shop is brilliant – when you ask her to do something she rolls with it.
‘She gets the job done in her own happy, unique, great way.’
After Shirley retires she will be able to spend more time with her husband Alvin but she isn’t giving up seeing her shop family as she has already arranged coffee mornings for all of them.