FOR nearly 50 years, Maureen Furmedge has served customers with a smile.
But now staff and visitors to the Rowlands Pharmacy in Fratton have said farewell to a loyal worker who has been a fixture behind the counter for 48 years.
Maureen, 74, of Shelford Road in Milton, has worked at Rowlands Pharmacy in Fratton since the days it was known as the family-run Tremletts.
Yesterday was her last day on the job, and customers were queueing up to bid her a happy retirement.
Maureen said: ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed my working life here.
‘I have met some nice people and made some good friends and enjoyed everything about it.
‘I feel sad because I’m going to be leaving everybody but on the other hand I now have more time to do the things I want to do.’
Maureen started working in pharmacies when she was 16 years old and fresh from school. A lot has changed in the industry since then. Pharmacy workers used to put together the ingredients for medicines and creams themselves.
Now it is done elsewhere and delivered to the store.
‘In a way it is a shame that those skills aren’t put to use anymore,’ added Maureen. But it’s better for the customers because everything is done to a standard now.
‘I used to say if you can make a good cream you can make a good sponge cake.’
Over the years, Maureen has even found herself working alongside family members.
Her grandson, Dan Furmedge, worked there for several years and is now a doctor in London.
‘Sometimes working with family can be difficult, but I never found it to be a problem,’ said the 74-year-old.
‘That’s probably because of the family ethos that has carried on through Tremletts, which was a family-run business.’
Maureen’s colleagues presented her with a number of gifts to mark her last day in the job.
They gave her chocolates, a collage of photographs from her time at the pharmacy, and a medication tray filled with sweets instead of tablets.
Maureen said she is now looking forward to having more time to enjoy life and spend time with her husband Arthur, 86.