Memories as Mary opens new shop

(left) Janine Pert and (right) Mary Newman open the new shop.
(left) Janine Pert and (right) Mary Newman open the new shop.
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Manager Angela Grant and owner Jodie Priestley at Ally Barbers in Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove     Picture: Habibur Rahman

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PENSIONER Mary Newman went back to her roots as she officially opened a new shop – on the site of the barbers where she and her daughter were born.

The 73-year-old said it was an ‘emotional experience’ as she returned to her old family home to open the new Discover Wine store in Hambledon Road, Denmead.

Mary was born in the bedroom above the shop, then her father’s barbers, on July 10, 1940.

Her daughter Karen White was born in the exact same spot on April 25, 1966.

Mary was invited to cut the ribbon after a chance meeting with the new owner of the historic building, called Lavinia House, which housed Denmead’s newsagents until last year.

Wine merchant Janine Pert, 58, who hails from Australia and has lived in Denmead for 27 years, said: ‘I didn’t just want anybody to open it, it had to have some meaning. Then in walks Mary and her husband Derek. She said “do you mind if I have a look around, I was born here”. She brought in the original photographs and it just seemed perfect for her to open the shop.’

Mary’s father Joe Button, from Old Portsmouth, borrowed £100 to buy Lavinia House in 1933 after his barbers’ business outgrew a railway carriage in Denmead. Mary and her twin brother George were born above the shop and the family enjoyed many happy times.

When Mary was old enough, an extension was built on the side to open a ladies hairdressers for her to work in.

The main barbers shop closed in the early 80s, but George Button continued running the family business in the extension until his sudden death two years ago.

Mary had fond memories of playing in the sprawling garden, which is now occupied by Denmead Co-op and the village flower shop.

Asked about opening the shop, Mary, of Lily Avenue, Widley, said: ‘It was lovely. It was very emotional.

‘I am pleased it’s going to be a wine shop and not a restaurant or takeaway. I am pleased it’s taken off so well.’

And the first customer of the shop was her daughter, Karen, who said she had fond memories of helping sweep up hair at the barbers.

Karen bought a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc – which she is saving for tomorrow to celebrate the birthday of her son, Matthew, who was also born at home.

Karen, 47, from Swanmore, said: ‘On a personal note, I wanted to be the first customer. That place has a lot of memories for me and my whole family.

‘As soon as I got in I was eyeing up which bottle I wanted to buy!’