IT WAS a sad moment as shopworker Jackie Dunford said goodbye to the place she has been working for the past 30 years.
Jackie has retired from The News Box in Gosport and it was an emotional morning as she finished her last shift.
I am going to miss all my regular customers who have become like friends over the yearsJackie Dunford
The 63-year-old was inundated with cards and presents from customers she said she will miss.
‘I am going to miss all my regulars who have become like friends over the years,’ she said.
‘I will miss all the staff who have been so lovely and supportive to me over the years. It is a sad day but it is the right time.’
Jackie’s husband Paul retired a few months ago and the pair are looking forward to a holiday in South Africa for three weeks.
Although they do not have any other plans, Jackie said it will be nice to have the time to visit her family who live around the country.
She added: ‘My brother lives in South Africa, which is why we are going there, and the rest of my family live everywhere so we can see them more.’
Having worked the morning shift, Jackie was always in the store for 5am.
‘I am looking forward to having lie-ins,’ she said.
‘Even though I know I will wake up early, at least I can go back to bed. Working the early shift has given me the time to get to know the regular customers.
‘They have all been wishing me luck for my retirement and I have received so many cards. I never knew how much they cared or how much they appreciated the work I do.
‘It has been an emotional morning and I teared up a couple of times but I am looking forward to retiring.’
Terry Hornby, owner of the shop, on Brockhurst Road, said he was sad to see Jackie go.
‘She has been with us for a long time and it is sad to see her retiring,’ he said.
‘She is a lovely person and it will be very hard replacing her.
‘I could go away and have no worry that Jackie would open the shop and keep it running.
‘She is honest and loyal and the customers will really miss her.
‘All the regulars who come in know they are going to be greeted with a smile from her and she knows when they are due in and what they want to buy.’