End of an era for flagship store

MONDAY> morning marks the end of an era for high street shopping as we know it, as Woolworths stores up and down the country close their doors for the final time.

MONDAY> morning marks the end of an era for high street shopping as we know it, as Woolworths stores up and down the country close their doors for the final time.

The chain has sold toys, clothes, stationery, entertainment and confectionary to generations of families, acting as the flagship store for many small towns' shopping areas, but from next week millions of shoppers will have to go elsewhere for their purchases.

Over 200 of the stores have been closed already, but on Monday the final 200 will lock up for the last time. Amongst these will be the store on London Road North, Lowestoft.

Thousands have shopped and worked in the London Road North store over the years and the forthcoming closure has prompted many to look back fondly on their associations with the shop.


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Betty Smith, nee Harper, of Lansdowne Road, Lowestoft, looked back fondly on a time when she worked under the management of Mr Eckley and Mr Clarke.

'I worked in the Lowestoft branch for a few years. I actually starting working for them in Kirkley, then went to the site where it is now to help get it ready for trading.

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'I actually met me husband when I was there. It was a happy point of my working life.'

More memories of times gone by at Woolworths are captured in these photographs sent in by Mrs Carroll, of Woods Loke East, Lowestoft.

One shows the spirit of fundraising, with this particular member of the Woolworths staff clowning around for Red Nose Day. The other image, thought to be from late 1980, shows the kitted-out team ready for action after a refurbishment of the store.

The store has always been well-known for its close-knit staff and this tradition has been continued through to the present day. In 2004, 12 women, who were mainly Woolworths employees, joined together to shed their clothes for a 2005 charity calendar.

A Taste Of East Anglia saw the women bare all as they helped to raise money for the East Anglian Children's Hospice (EACH).

Meanwhile, in September last year, Richard Edwards and Christine Hildreth were recognised for each serving a total of 20 years at the store as their colleagues hosted an evening buffet for them as they were showered in presents and cards.

This close camaraderie has been a vital part of Woolworths throughout the years and will by as missed by employees as the store's service will be missed by high street customers.

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